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Worlds: Oshie lifts U.S. to win, avoid relegation

Tuesday, 05.18.2010 / 10:31 AM / News

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Worlds: Oshie lifts U.S. to win, avoid relegation
Thanks to St. Louis' T.J. Oshie, the U.S. avoided relegation at the World Championships with a shootout victory against Italy in their final game.
The United States narrowly defeated Italy, 3-2 in a shootout, Tuesday in its final game at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship tournament in Germany. The win saved the U.S. the embarrassment of being demoted from the IIHF's top division, something that last happened in 1982.
 
The shootout lasted seven rounds, and Oshie, a St. Louis Blues center, took five of those attempts for the U.S. (IIHF rules allow for teams to re-use shooters after three different players have shot). Oshie scored on three of his five attempts.

"The hockey gods were not with us," U.S. defenseman and captain Jack Johnson of the Los Angeles Kings told IIHF.com of his team's struggles. "I am glad we can look forward to next year. We're glad it is over but we're glad for next year."

New York Rangers center Brandon Dubinsky gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes with a power-play goal, but Italy scored the next two. Giulio Scandella scored the equalizer at 14:00 of the second period, and Stefano Margoni stunned the crowd of 5,864 at Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany, when he put Italy in front 2-1 at 6:49 of the third period.

The U.S., needing only one point from the game to avoid the possibility of relegation, tied the score on a power-play goal by Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Potulny with 8:52 remaining in regulation.

The U.S. outshot Italy 52-28 in regulation and overtime. U.S. goaltender Scott Clemmensen of the Florida Panthers stopped 26 shots to earn the victory. Daniel Bellissimo made 49 saves for Italy.

The U.S. finished with a record of 2-1-2-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L) and tied their worst-ever showing by placing 13th in the 16-team field, a position it last finished in 2003.

"I'm proud of our players," said U.S. and New York Islanders coach Scott Gordon. "After the tough start we had, we did a nice job coming back and winning our final three games."
 
After scoring only four goals in three preliminary-round games -- all losses, two in overtime -- the U.S. exploded for 16 goals to go 3-0 in the relegation round.
 
Dubinsky currently leads all players with 7 assists and 10 points.
Quote of the Day

I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.

— Brian Elliott to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch on being the Blues' No. 1 goalie