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#CBJ at the Worlds: May 7

by Staff Writer / Columbus Blue Jackets

Today's Team USA update from the IIHF World Championship comes from

Belarus scored three goals in the second period en route to a 5-2 defeat of the United States on Thursday in a Group B preliminary-round game at the 2015 IIHF World Championship played at CEZ Arena in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Artur Gavrus (New Jersey Devils), Artem Volkov and Alexander Kitarov scored in a span of 4:55 midway through the second period.

Alexei Kalyuzhny scored two goals in the third period. Goaltender Kevin Lalande made 28 saves.

"They came after us early but Lalande made some timely saves," Belarus coach Dave Lewis told the IIHF website. "We did not settle into the game until the second period."

Brock Nelson (New York Islanders) and Torey Krug (Boston Bruins) scored for the United States, and Jack Eichel, NHL Central Scouting's No. 2-ranked North American skater for the 2015 NHL Draft, had two assists. Goaltender Jack Campbell (Dallas Stars) made 18 saves.

[HUB] Follow the Blue Jackets at the 2015 IIHF World Championship

The win gives Belarus 10 points (3-0-1-0) and possession of first place in Group B. Belarus has one more point than the second-place U.S. (3-0-0-1), which lost its first game of the tournament.

"We just let them have too much possession," Eichel said, according to the IIHF website. "We had a couple of mishaps in the offensive zone that led to them getting odd-man breaks and they took advantage of that."

After a scoreless first period, Gavrus opened the scoring when he beat Campbell high to the stick side off the rush at 11:11 of the second. At 13:01 Volkov scored to make it 2-0. Then after serving a tripping penalty, Kitarov picked up a loose puck near the penalty box, broke in alone on Campbell and scored at 16:06.

Nelson scored at 17:21 of the second off a sensational setup by Eichel, who had picked up the puck at the Belarus blue line, drove to the net and backhanded a pass through the slot to an open Nelson who cut the U.S. deficit to 3-1.

Any momentum gained by the goal, however, went away early in the third when Kalyuzhny scored a 5-on-3 power-play goal at 1:15. Krug's power-play goal got the U.S. to within 4-2, but Kalyuzhny's second goal ended the scoring.

"It's a letdown after the Russia game [a 4-2 win Monday]," Eichel said. "That was an emotional win, but every game means a lot so this is a tough one to take."

The U.S. next plays Friday against Denmark; Belarus plays Saturday against Russia.

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