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United States defeats Russia, stays perfect at Worlds

by Staff /

The United States received goals from four different players and goaltender Jack Campbell (Dallas Stars) made 15 saves in a 4-2 victory Monday against Russia in preliminary-round action of the 2015 IIHF World Championship at CEZ Arena in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Forwards Trevor Lewis (Los Angeles Kings), Mark Arcobello (Arizona Coyotes) and Brock Nelson (New York Islanders) and defenseman Tory Krug (Boston Bruins) scored for the United States (3-0-0-0), which is off to its best start at the tournament since 1997. The United States, which has outscored its opponents 11-4 in three games, leads Group B with nine points. Russia, which lost for the first time in three games, is in second place with six points.

Arcobello's goal 11:52 into the third period gave the United States a 3-1 lead. After Jimmy Vesey (Nashville Predators) stole the puck in the neutral zone, Arcobello got it, moved into the left circle and took a wrist shot that beat Russia goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (Columbus Blue Jackets) inside the near post.

Campbell, who was making his first start for the United States in the tournament, made seven saves in the first period. Connor Hellebuyck (Winnipeg Jets) had started the first two games.

Campbell has won three gold medals (World Under-18 Championship in 2009 and 2010, World Junior Championship in 2010) and one bronze medal (2011 World Junior Championship) in world championship competition in his career. He is 18-6 with a 1.61 goals-against average and .940 save percentage in international tournaments. Campbell, selected in the first round (No. 11) of the 2010 NHL Draft, played for the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League in 2014-15.

"It's even more fun to play than I ever thought it could be," Campbell told the IIHF website. "I've gotten a game in the NHL but this is another level. Especially hearing their crowd screaming Russia the whole time, it makes you want to beat them all the more. It's a fast game, a lot of great players and it's an honor to be out here and get the win."

Russia pulled to within 3-2 when Sergei Plotnick scored 3:41 into the third, but couldn't get the equalizer even after pulling Bobrovsky late in the game for an extra attacker. Nelson scored into an empty net with nine seconds left.

Lewis gave the United States a 1-0 lead 6:22 into the first period when he scored off a rebound. Jack Eichel, a freshman at Boston University and No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft, won a faceoff in the offensive end back to defenseman Seth Jones (Nashville Predators). Jones took a shot and Lewis scored on the rebound at the edge of the crease.

Russia tied the game 3:40 into the second when Anton Belov connected off a shot from the circle. Krug gave the United States a 2-1 lead on a 5-on-3 power play three minutes later off a shot from left circle. Jones had his second assist on the goal.

"Undoubtedly those guys are going to get their chances, their opportunities," Krug said. "You can't stop all of them. But we did a pretty good job of keeping that number down. We did well at realizing when we had to calm the game down, get the puck out of the zone. The guys are really committed to team defense."

The United States continues preliminary-round play Thursday against Belarus (1-0-1-0, four points) at 10:15 a.m. ET (NBCSN). Russia plays Denmark on Wednesday.

"I think special teams were the difference." Russia forward Viktor Tikhonov said. "We didn't score on our power play and they got that goal on the 5-on-3, that was the big swing in the game. That's something we're going to work on."

Finland 5, Norway 0: Jyrki Jokipakka (Dallas Stars) and Jussi Jokinen (Florida Panthers) scored and Pekka Rinne (Nashville Predators) recorded the shutout at CEZ Arena.

Esa Lindell opened the scoring for Finland and set up the next two goals by Joonas Kemppainen midway through the second period off shots on which Kemppainen converted the rebounds.

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