COLOGNE – Denmark goaltender Patrick Galbraith looked down the ice and saw teammate Stefan Lassen charging the USA net and thought maybe his teammate shouldn't be doing what he was doing.
But Galbraith was all smiles seconds later when Lassen batted a rebound of his own shot past Team USA goalie Scott Clemmensen at 2:04 of overtime to left Denmark to a 2-1 triumph over the United States at the World Championship on Monday.
"I was just thinking what is he doing up there," said Galbraith. "Then I said that is a good play, a heads-up play."
Lassen was in full stride when he snapped a wrist shot that hit goaltender Scott Clemmensen in the chest. Lassen kept going and he got his stick on the puck to score the winning goal.
"I saw the defenceman hestitate and went for it," said Lassen. "It felt unreal to see it go in."
The win allowed Denmark to continue its march to the qualification round of the 16-team tournament.
Denmark has won both its games in Group D and now has five points. The Team USA has collected two points from losing twice in overtime and now has a crucial game on Wednesday against Finland that has implications of which team goes on and which teams heads to the relegation round.
"Inexcusable, the U.S. should not be losing these games," said Team USA captain Jack Johnson after the shocking loss to the Danes. "It's inexcusable. At the same time, it's hard to win games when you score just two goals in two games."
"We have a huge game against Finland. We have to start winning games or we'll find ourselves going home a lot earlier that we should. I'm very disappointed. We have to figure out a way to win a hockey game."
The loss marked the first time since 2003 that the USA has lost its first two games at the world tournament.
After a scoreless first period, Denmark’s Lars Eller and Keith Yandle of Team USA traded goals in the second period to send the teams to dressing room for the break tied 1-1.
Clemmensen and Galbraith took turns keeping their team in the game in the first and second periods respectively.
The Danes had an 11-8 shots advantage in the first period and Clemmensen was the main reason why the game was goalless at the first intermission.
Clemmensen’s first test came at 6:15 of the first when he was quick to get his right pad on a low shot by Frans Nielsen.
Midway through the period, the Danes were on a power play when the Team USA goalie stopped a low point shot by Jesper Damgaard and was then quick to smother the rebound.
Clemmensen made a third sparkling save with 2:35 to go in the period when he snagged a shot by Eller.
Team USA regrouped in the break and carried the play in the second period, but sound work by Galbraith prevented his opponents from running up the score.
David Moss ripped a slot shot from the left faceoff circle at 1:27 that Galbraith alertly snagged with his trapper.
Team USA was on a power play less than a minute later when Galbraith made three quick saves on a scramble at the lip of the crease at the 2:21 mark. Not long after, he smothered a rebound before a USA forward was able to pounce on the puck.
T.J. Galiardi accidentally lifted the puck into the stands on a clearing attempt and was sent off on a delaying the game penalty at 7:32 and Denmark scored on the power play to take a 1-0 lead at 8:52.
Eller stepped into a slap shot that sailed over Clemmensen’s shoulder after the goalie dropped to his knees.
Yandle tied the game on a power play, with Peter Regin looking on from the penalty box where he was serving a tripping penalty.
T.J. Oshie was to Galbraith’s right and the USA forward was behind the goal line when he spotted Yandle pinching in from the point. Oshie sent a crisp pass to his teammate and Yandle snapped the puck past a diving Galbraith to tie the game 1-1 at 12:03.
The U.S. went into the game with a 2-1 won-lost record against Denmark.