On Sunday, the United States men’s ice hockey team defeated Germany by a score of 3-2 to claim first place in Group A and a direct bye to the quarterfinals of the Olympic tournament.
USA Hockey Team vs Germany Score
Going into the game, all the Americans had to do to guarantee themselves the top seed in their group was win or tie in regulation. They won all three of their games and won’t play again until Wednesday.
The Americans’ speed and aggressive forechecking allowed them to dominate 5-on-5 play, as they had done throughout the preliminary round. Even though Germany scored late in the third period to trim the U.S. advantage to one, the younger squad with 15 players from NCAA managed to pull out the win.
Forward Nathan Smith, who scored the game-winning goal, thought it was significant because it showed the team could win close games.
“Even though we have quite a few young players, we play like a seasoned squad. The elder guys in our leadership group do a fantastic job of getting the younger guys pumped up for games.”
Drew Commesso, in goal, with 24 saves to his name and a Second Prelim Victory.
The opening quarter was dominated by special teams. Germany’s Patrick Hager, the team’s leading scorer in their silver medal run at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, scored on a power play just two minutes into the game, beating Commesso from close range.
Defenseman Steve Kampfer scored on the power play 4:26 into the first period to tie the game for the United States, mirroring their comeback victory against Canada.
A double-minor for high-sticking on forward Kenny Agostino was also eliminated by the Americans, allowing the Germans only one attempt on goal.
Unfortunately, the United States is at its most effective while playing 5-on-5, where they can take advantage of their pace and forecheck.
U.S. forward Nick Abruzzese made a spectacular diving pass from beyond the net to freshman forward Matt Knies of the University of Minnesota, and the Americans went on to take a 2-1 lead.
“He deserves a lot of praise. There was a lot of effort put into that change, “Abruzzese Knies described it best.
The Germans made a bizarre claim for goaltender interference, and the authorities correctly concluded that it had no bearing on the outcome of the game.
The Americans started the third period with a power play but failed to score, but they quickly added an insurance goal.
Jonas Muller, a defenseman, turned the puck over because of a forecheck by Abruzzese.
Smith received the pass and quickly backhanded the puck past goalie Danny aus den Birken to put his team up by three goals (in 47 seconds after the power play had finished).
Minnesota State’s forward Smith is the highest-scoring player in all of Division I of the NCAA.
Former NHL player Tom Kuhnhackl of Germany made things interesting with 2:29 left in regulation time when he scored from close range for the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders. U.S. men’s hockey team hasn’t won a gold medal since 1980, but they held strong.