GLENDALE – Coyotes defenseman Connor Murphy is having a good time playing for Team USA at the 2014 IIHF World Championship in Minsk, Belarus.
Murphy has played in three of Team USA’s six games thus far in the round-round preliminary round, which concludes on Tuesday when the Americans take on Germany.
|Coyotes defenseman Connor Murphy (center) with some of his USA teammates and USA Hockey executives Jim Johannson (left) and Tom Kurvers (right) at the U.S. Embassy in Minsk. |
On Sunday, Murphy played a team-high 27 shifts (20:58) in the USA’s 3-1 win over Finland, which lifted the team into third place in the Group B standings with three wins, one OT win and two losses.
"It was a huge win for us against Finland," Murphy said. "It was a tight and exciting game. Now we get to control our fate on where we are ranked going into the quarterfinals with our last round-robin game against Germany on Tuesday."
Murphy has taken five shots on goal and is averaging 15:03 per game at this event. Those numbers likely will increase now that USA defenseman Jacob Trouba has left the tournament because of injury.
Murphy twice before has played for Team USA and both times won gold – at the 2013 World Junior Championship and at the 2011 U18 World Junior Championship. The quarterfinals of this tournament begin Thursday and the Gold Medal Game is Sunday.
“All of the guys here get along really well, the games are exciting and the city has been fun,” Murphy said. “We’ve gotten a chance to walk around and see some cool buildings, and we even went to the U.S. Embassy here. Even just walking around the city is cool, seeing all of the excitement over the tournament being held here.”