It took almost 10 minutes for the U.S. to finally put it into gear, but once they did, the opportunities came fast and furious against Finland in their preliminary-round game.
The U.S. cashed in on their second power-play chance of the first when defenseman Justin Faulk ripped a slap shot from the point past Finland goalie Joni Ortio with just 1:05 left. Jonathan Merrill fed Faulk along the blue line after some good work by Chris Kreider down low.
Prior to the goal, however, Team USA was aided by the play of returning goalie Jack Campbell, who turned aside nine shots in the first. The Finns, who haven't beaten Team USA in three previous meetings in the WJC, are playing this tournament without playmaking forward Mikael Granlund. The Minnesota Wild's 2010 first-round pick (No. 9) is dealing with post-concussion syndrome.
Ortio, a Calgary Flames prospect, finished with six saves in the first. Team USA's top line of Kreider centering Charlie Coyle and Kyle Palmieri, was the trio that finally pumped some life into the U.S. with less than six minutes remaining in the first. The club earned its first chance with the man-advantage, and despite the fact they failed to score, it made a much more concerted effort to sustain some pressure in the Finland end -- and it remained that way.
The U.S. players are wearing replica Team USA jerseys from the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" Olympic team.