Copp scores game-winner as U.S. knocks off Latvia; Canada falls to Switzerland in overtime
Ryan Dittrick & Mitchell Clinton
The Winnipeg Jets have seven players participating in the 2017 IIHF World Hockey Championship, held in Paris, France and Cologne, Germany. Check back throughout the tournament for daily updates, highlights and more as Mark Scheifele, Josh Morrissey and Eric Comrie of Canada, Nikolaj Ehlers of Denmark, and Jacob Trouba, Andrew Copp and Connor Hellebuyck of the U.S. go for gold.
USA 5 vs. LATVIA 3
Following a rare two-day break to rest up and enjoy the sights of beautiful Cologne, Germany, Andrew Copp, Jacob Trouba, Connor Hellebuyck and the rest of Team USA returned to the ice without skipping a beat Saturday, beating Latvia 5-3 in front of a modern-day record crowd of 17,936.
And what a way to do it.
Copp, who is playing in his first-ever men's world championship, stepped up in a big way, breaking a 3-3 tie on an end-to-end rush with only 3:21 to play in the third period, helping the U.S. complete the comeback after trailing 2-0 and 3-1 earlier in the game.
Copp took the puck from his own end all the way up the ice with speed before shrugging off two defenders and launching a wrister from the top of the circles. Latvian goalie Elvis Merzlikins waved at it with the glove, getting a piece of it but not nearly enough as it trickled for the eventual game-winner.
"It was a huge win given the early adversity," Copp told IIHF.com. "They played really hard especially those first two periods. We needed to get our legs under us a little bit and get into intensity mode. It was important for us to handle that adversity and inch back in the second and battle throughout the third."
Latvia, which hadn't trailed at any point in the game after building a pair of multi-goal leads early on, threw everything on net in the dying in the minutes, but were unable to beat Connor Hellebuyck, who made 20 saves and had the only assist on his Winnipeg teammate's game-winning goal. Dylan Larkin scored into the empty net with just over a minute left to salt the two-goal victory. JT Compher, Nick Bjugstad and Johnny Gaudreau also had goals in the win.
Jacob Trouba had another great game on defence, recording an assist and two shots on goal in 20:43 of ice time. Only one American player - Larkin at 21:07 - played more.
With Latvia leading 3-1 in the back half the second period, Bjugstad made it a one-goal game at 13:45, pouncing on a loose puck at the side of the net and jamming it short side for his first of the tournament.
Gaudreau then tied it with his team-leading fourth at 18:37, banging home a rebound after Trouba circled the net and got the puck to the blue paint. Trouba's incredible solo effort drew four - four! - Latvian defenders to the opposite side of the ice, leaving Gaudreau wide open and giving him two cracks at it in tight.
It was all USA from that point forward, as they outshot the Latvians 15-6 in the final frame en route to victory.
The Americans are back in action on Sunday as they face off with Slovakia at 9:15am CT.
Team Canada coach Jon Cooper switched up his lines prior to Canada's match up with Switzerland, and while it seemed to spark the offense in the opening 20 minutes, it wasn't enough to hold off a Swiss comeback.
Fabrice Herzog's second of the game sealed the deal. He chipped the puck around Chris Lee near the Canadian goal line, and chased it down before lifting a backhand stick side on Pickard to give Switzerland the 3-2 comeback win in overtime.
Mark Scheifele had three shots on goal, including one in overtime, in16:58 of ice time, while Josh Morrissey played 7:31 in the loss.
Leonardo Genoni kept the Canadians off the scoreboard, stopping all 32 shots he faced in relief of Jonas Hiller, who was pulled after allowing two goals allowed on 10 shots.
Ryan O'Reilly got the first of those two goals. After some good puck movement on the power play, Mitch Marner found O'Reilly in space beside Hiller, and while O'Reilly's first attempt to jam the puck in was stopped, he cashed in on the rebound for his second power play marker of the tournament.
Two minutes later, Marner got one of his own to put Canada up 2-0. Switzerland couldn't clear the puck, and Chris Lee's point shot found its way between the feet of Marner to the right of Hiller. Quickly, Marner put a no-look backhand toward the net, which caromed in off Swiss defenceman Romain Loeffel. That was the end of the night for Hiller, as Genoni came on in relief.
After a scoreless second period, Switzerland got one back on the power play. Vincent Praplan beat Matt Duchene to the puck on the half wall after Wayne Simmonds couldn't clear the zone because of a broken stick earlier in the shift. Praplan played the puck toward the Canadian net, and Herzog jumped in front of Calvin Pickard, and flipped a backhand top corner, over the Canadian goaltender's glove hand.
Praplan tied the game for Switzerland off a faceoff in the Swiss zone. Off the draw, Dennis Hollenstein played the puck up the ice and off the rush, Praplan took a shot on goal from the wing that deflected off Pickard's stick and blocker into the net.
Next up for Canada (4-0-1-0) is Norway on Monday. Puck drop is 9:15 am CT.