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Butler & Team USA fall to Team Slovakia

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

EDITORS NOTE: Chris Butler had two shots in his 13:24 of ice time.

HELSINKI, FINLAND -- Justin Faulk (South St. Paul, Minn./Carolina Hurricanes/University of Minnesota Duluth) and Paul Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./Colorado Avalanche/University of Denver) each tallied a goal, but the U.S. Men's National Team fell to Slovakia, 4-2, here tonight in preliminary round play at the 2012 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's World Championship at Hartwell Arena.

"I thought they won the game in the first period" said Scott Gordon, head coach of the U.S. Men's National Team. "We got better as the game wore on and battled. We get a couple of days rest and need be ready to go on Thursday."

Slovakia took a 1-0 lead 47 seconds into the game and added another marker at 15:04 of the first period. Faulk made it a one-goal game 37 seconds later with a blast from the point at 15:41. Kyle Okposo (St. Paul, Minn./New York Islanders/University of Minnesota) and Jim Slater (Lapeer, Mich./Winnipeg Jets/Michigan State University) collected assists on the tally. Slovakia, however, regained its two-goal lead with six seconds remaining in the frame and led 3-1 after 20 minutes.

Team USA capitalized on a 5-on-3 power play late in the second period to cut the deficit to 3-2. Cam Fowler (Farmington Hills, Mich./Anaheim Ducks) took a shot from the point that missed wide but went behind the net to Max Pacioretty (New Canaan, Conn./Montreal Canadiens/University of Michigan). Pacioretty found Stastny open at the side of the crease and he slid the puck under Slovakia goaltender Jan Larco at 18:47.

The U.S. hit the post on three occasions in the third period, but was unable to find the game-tying goal. Slovakia sealed the game with an empty-net goal with 37 seconds remaining. Jimmy Howard (Syracuse, N.Y./Detroit Red Wings/University of Maine) made 28 saves for the U.S., while Laco made 18 saves for Slovakia.

Courtesy of USA Hockey

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