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game recap

Parise's pair leads USA to 2-0 win over Switzerland

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:50 AM

Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

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Parise's pair leads USA to 2-0 win over Switzerland
Switzerland 0, United States 2
VANCOUVER -- The road to a medal in an Olympic hockey tournament is littered with tests of both skill and character.
 
The young, upstart Americans passed a pop quiz thrown at them Wednesday by an upset-minded Switzerland team in the first of the day's quarterfinals at Canada Hockey Place.
 
The Americans survived a mind-blowing litany of clutch saves by Swiss goalie Jonas Hiller, the infuriating patience of a disciplined team that denies time and space in the neutral zone and a couple of confidence-shaking calls to earn a 2-0 victory that sends Team USA into the medal round.
 
New Jersey Devils forward Zach Parise scored both goals -- the second into an empty net -- and now Team USA will play Finland in Friday's semifinal round here at CHP. The Finns blanked the Czech Republic by the same score, 2-0, later on Wednesday.
 
"We're really proud of them of them for not losing their cool or letting the expectations of beating the Swiss to get in the way of the plan," American coach Ron Wilson said. "We stayed fairly disciplined the whole game and we needed that."
 
The longer the Swiss went with a chance in this game, the more the pressure grew on an American team populated with youngsters who don't have a ton of big-game experience.
 
So when the second period ended 0-0 and Hiller was the proud owner of 32 saves on a day when he would stop 42 of 43 shots, a recipe for disaster was in the planning stages -- especially after Ryan Kesler had an apparent goal in the last split-second of the second period negated by video replay to keep the game tied.
 
"Guys started squeezing their sticks after the first 35 shots get stopped," American forward David Backes told NHL.com "So it was a good testament for the guys to keep going; keep with the program. Our longevity and stick-to-itness paid off in the end."
 
Parise might define the American grit better than any player on this team. Despite being a pure goal scorer, Parise plays in all three ends and goes to the dirty areas of the ice. He was in one of those dirty areas -- in front of Hiller with a defenseman trying to move him -- when he finally broke the stalemate and let the American team breathe.
 
Parise got just the tip of his stick on a slap shot from defenseman Brian Rafalski and sent it cartwheeling over the glove of Hiller before nestling just inside the far post -- despite the best scrambling efforts of both Hiller and his defense to clear the puck off the line.
 
"A great performance from Zach Parise today," Wilson said. "I thought he was our best player, and in games like this your best players rise to the occasion and you saw that today."
 
With that one flash of world-class hand-eye coordination combined with sheer determination, the Americans suddenly knew that they were in control of their own destiny and no longer at the mercy of a goalie intent upon upsetting the Olympic apple cart.
 
"It was just patience paying off," forward Bobby Ryan said. "They're trying to get teams frustrated and out of their comfort zone and feast on it in transition or a turnover. Plus, Jonas played really well in net. So we just tried to keep going forward and get an ugly one and that's what happened."
 
Ugly or pretty, the Americans were happy to have it after their first 34 attempts top beat Hiller were thwarted.
 
"Hillsy did an amazing job," Swiss defenseman Luca Sbisa said. "Without him, we wouldn't be this far in the tournament. He made unbelievable saves. We are so proud of him."

While the game was taut throughout, it was the closing seconds of the second period and the opening five minutes of the third that told the eventual story.
 
The game-changing sequence started when Kesler appeared to have scored a goal in the last second of the period when his bad-angle shot was bobbled by Hiller before the goalie batted it over his own shoulder and into the net. But on this day, Hiller was saved by the horn -- time expired, according to replays, before the puck actually crossed the goal line.
 
Then Parise delivered his game-changing goal at 2:08 of the third period. But the Swiss were not yet done.
 
In fact, they came as hard as they did all night, pressing for the equalizer to put the Americans under pressure again. Switzerland thought it had that equalizer when Sandy Jeanin took his defender wide and then forced goalie Ryan Miller to commit before sliding a shot past the goalie that appeared to have crossed the goal line before bouncing back out.
 
"I thought it was in on the bench," Wilson said, "because there was no sound.
 
Instead, play continued and the Americans marched down the other end to score on a snap shot by Ryan Suter. That goal, though, was waved off by a high-sticking penalty by Kesler in front of the net.
 
As Kesler was sent to the penalty box, the referees reviewed the play at the American end, determining the puck had hit the far post but had never fully crossed the goal line. 
"Luck was not on our side on that shift," Sbisa said.

Miller wound up with 19 saves in the first U.S. Olympic shutout since Mike Richter blanked the Germans 5-0 in the 2002 quarterfinals.
 
When Parise was able to score his empty-net goal to alleviate Switzerland's last gasp, the Americans were adjudged to have past their most difficult test of the tournament to date.
 
"We would have needed a miracle to win today," Swiss coach Ralph Krueger said. "The Americans, in the end, were the better team."


GAME SUMMARY

SCORING
SUI  0  0  0 - 0
USA 0  0  2 - 2

First Period

No scoring

Penalties - R. Callahan USA (hooking) 6:25

Second Period

No scoring

Penalties - R. Malone USA (roughing) 2:41, R. Sannitz SUI (interference) 6:04, H. Domenichelli SUI (tripping) 11:19, H. Domenichelli SUI (hooking) 13:36

Third Period

1. USA, Z. Parise (B. Rafalski, P. Stastny) 2:08 PPG

2. USA, Z. Parise (unassisted) 19:48 empty net

Penalties - P. Furrer SUI (tripping) 1:56, R. Kesler USA (high-sticking) 4:07

SHOTS ON GOAL
USA  18 14  12 - 44
SUI    4   4   11 - 19

Goaltenders (goals-shots against) - USA: Miller (W, 0-18); SUI: Hiller (L, 1-43).

Power plays (goals-chances) - USA: 1-4; SUI: 0-3.




Switzerland
# Forwards Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
10 A. Ambühl 5'9" 192 9/14/1983 Davos, SUI
48 M. Bieber 5'11" 187 3/14/1986 Zürich, SUI
23 S. Bodenmann 5'10" 187 3/2/1988 Urnäsch, SUI
96 D. Brunner NJD 5'10" 185 3/9/1986 Zürich, SUI
12 L. Cunti 6'0" 187 7/4/1989 Zürich, SUI
51 R. Gardner 6'6" 227 4/18/1978 Toronto, ON
70 D. Hollenstein 6'0" 194 10/15/1989 Mosnang, SUI
82 S. Moser NSH 6'2" 214 3/10/1989 Bern, SUI
22 N. Niederreiter MIN 6'2" 209 9/8/1992 Chur, SUI
28 M. Plüss 5'9" 187 4/5/1977 Bülach, SUI
88 K. Romy 6'0" 194 1/31/1985 La Chax-de-Fonds, SUI
24 R. Suri 6'0" 185 3/25/1989 Zürich, SUI
43 M. Trachsler 6'0" 198 7/15/1984 Zürich, SUI
14 R. Wick 6'2" 207 12/30/1985 Zuzwil, SUI
# Defense Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
5 S. Blindenbacher 5'11" 194 3/15/1983 Bülach, SUI
16 R. Diaz VAN 5'11" 197 1/9/1986 Baar, SUI
90 R. Josi NSH 6'1" 192 6/1/1990 Bern, SUI
31 M. Seger 5'11" 190 12/17/1977 Ermatingen, SUI
7 M. Streit PHI 5'11" 191 12/11/1977 Bern, SUI
3 J. Vauclair 6'0" 203 10/2/1979 Bure, SUI
72 P. von Gunten 5'11" 183 2/10/1985 Sigriswil, SUI
6 Y. Weber VAN 5'11" 200 9/23/1988 Morges, SUI
# Goalies Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
R. Berra CGY 6'4" 194 1/3/1987 Bülach, SUI
J. Hiller ANA 6'2" 192 2/12/1982 Felben Wellhausen, SUI
T. Stephan 6'3" 187 1/21/1984 Zürich, SUI
United States
# Forwards Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
42 D. Backes STL 6'3" 221 5/1/1984 Minneapolis, MN
23 D. Brown LAK 6'0" 212 11/4/1984 Ithaca, NY
24 R. Callahan NYR 5'11" 180 3/21/1985 Rochester, NY
88 P. Kane CHI 5'11" 181 1/19/1988 Buffalo, NY
17 R. Kesler VAN 6'2" 202 8/31/1984 Livonia, MI
81 P. Kessel TOR 6'0" 202 10/2/1987 Madison, WI
74 T.J. Oshie STL 5'11" 189 12/23/1986 Warroad, MN
67 M. Pacioretty MTL 6'2" 219 11/20/1988 New Canaan, CT
9 Z. Parise MIN 5'11" 190 7/28/1984 Minneapolis, MN
8 J. Pavelski SJS 5'11" 190 7/11/1984 Plover, WI
26 P. Stastny COL 6'0" 205 12/27/1985 Quebec City, QC, CAN
12 D. Stepan NYR 6'0" 196 6/18/1990 Hastings, MN
21 J. van Riemsdyk TOR 6'3" 200 5/4/1989 Middletown, NJ
28 B. Wheeler WPG 6'5" 205 8/31/1986 Robbinsdale, MN
# Defense Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
4 J. Carlson WSH 6'3" 212 1/10/1990 Colonia, NJ
72 J. Faulk CAR 6'0" 215 3/20/1992 South St. Paul, MN
3 C. Fowler ANA 6'1" 196 3/5/1991 Farmington Hills, MI
7 P. Martin PIT 6'1" 200 3/5/1981 Elk River, MN
27 R. McDonagh NYR 6'1" 213 6/13/1989 St. Paul, MN
44 B. Orpik PIT 6'2" 219 9/26/1980 Amherst, NY
22 K. Shattenkirk STL 5'11" 207 1/29/1989 Greenwich, CT
20 R. Suter MIN 6'1" 198 1/21/1985 Madison, WI
# Goalies Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
35 J. Howard DET 6'0" 218 3/26/1984 Syracuse, NY
39 R. Miller BUF 6'2" 175 7/17/1980 East Lansing, MI
32 J. Quick LAK 6'1" 218 1/21/1986 Milford, CT