Defenseman Seth Jones of the Nashville Predators scored his second goal of the game 1:05 into overtime to give the United States a 4-3 victory against Kazakhstan in preliminary-round play of the 2014 IIHF World Championship at Minsk Arena in Belarus on Friday.
The victory snapped a two-game skid for the United States (3-2, eight points) after losses to Russia and Latvia in the Group B field.
"We definitely wanted to win this," Jones told the IIHF website. "We didn't want it to be as close as it was, to be honest, but we are happy to get the points."
Kazakhstan (0-5, two points) took a 2-1 lead 1:21 into the second period when Konstantin Romanov scored his first of the tournament against U.S. goalie Tim Thomas (22 saves). Jones evened the scored on a power-play goal 2:23 later before defenseman Matt Donovan (New York Islanders) gave the Americans their first lead off an assist from Hobey Baker Award-winner Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary Flames) with 4:58 left in the second.
"That was a huge game in every way," Donovan said. "We really needed that one. We need to keep working and get better every game, especially as we near the end of this round."
Kazakhstan pulled into a 3-3 tie 13:10 into the third when Roman Starchenko scored his second of the tournament.
Jones scored the game-winner on a wrist shot off assists by defenseman Danny DeKeyser (Detroit Red Wings) and Gaudreau. The goal gives Jones a team-leading seven points (three goals, four assists) in five tournament games. Gaudreau has one goal and five assists in five matches.
"The whole tournament, it's been special teams battles," Jones said. "They don't seem to be letting off the whistle, really. So you are either taking five penalties or getting five power plays in the period. We just got to do a better job staying out of the box, keeping our sticks down, playing a little more with our feet."
The U.S. outshot Kazakhstan 40-25. Gaudreau said Jones, who has three goals and three assists in the past two games, has been a catalyst.
"He's playing unbelievable hockey," Gaudreau said. "Having played with him before representing Team USA, he's a great player and even better person."
The United States resumes preliminary-round action on Sunday against Finland. Kazakhstan will face Switzerland on Saturday.
Canada 6, Italy 1: Cody Hodgson (Buffalo Sabres) scored two goals and James Reimer (Toronto Maple Leafs) made 21 saves in preliminary-round action of Group A at Chizhovka Arena. Brayden Schenn (Philadelphia Flyers) and Joel Ward (Washington Capitals) each had a goal and an assist in the win.
Hodgson leads the tournament with six goals.
"I think after a sluggish start and relying on Reimer quite a bit in the first 10 or 15 minutes, we got it going and played our game," Schenn told the IIHF website. "Our game is cycling pucks down low and wearing teams out. We did a pretty good job of that."
Canada (4-1, 13 points) scored four times in the second to open 5-0 lead. Ward scored 13:07 into the first to open the scoring before Hodgson scored twice and Jason Chimera (Washington Capitals) and Kyle Turris (Ottawa Senators) once in the second.
David Borrelli scored 1:12 into the third for Italy to break Reimer's shutout bid. The Canadians outshot the Italians 34-22.
Canada will next face Sweden (4-0, 11 points) on Sunday with first place in Group A at stake. Italy (1-4, three points) will play Slovakia on Saturday.
Finland 3, Switzerland 2 (SO): Iiro Pakarinen (Florida Panthers) scored the winner in the fifth round of a shootout during preliminary-round play at Minsk Arena. Pekka Rinne (Nashville Predators), who made 26 saves in regulation and overtime, stopped all five Swiss shooters in the tie-breaker.
Reto Berra (Colorado Avalanche) made 22 saves in regulation and overtime for Switzerland (1-4, four points).
Tommi Kivisto (Carolina Hurricanes) scored 5:14 into the first to give Finland (3-2, eight points) a 1-0 lead. Olli Jokinen (Winnipeg Jets) extended the lead to 2-0 in the second off a feed from Erik Haula (Minnesota Wild).
Switzerland pulled even in the third on goals by Reto Suri at 1:57 and Roman Josi (Nashville Predators) at 16:35. Each team generated two shots in overtime.
In the shootout Rinne twice stopped Damien Brunner (New Jersey Devils), and also Suri, Denis Hollenstein and Kevin Fiala, No. 3 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top international skaters eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft. His best stop came against Brunner in the fifth round, when he got his arm on the puck at the last second to deny a goal.
Finland next will play the United States (3-2, eight points) on Sunday, while Switzerland will face Kazakhstan on Saturday.
Sweden 3, Slovakia 1: Gustav Nyquist (Detroit Red Wings) and Mikael Backlund (Calgary Flames) scored power-play goals in the first period and Sweden held on during preliminary-round action at Chizhovka Arena. Anders Nilsson (New York Islanders) made 20 saves for the win.
Nyquist scored 10:05 into the first off a pass from Dick Axelsson. Backlund converted a feed from Joakim Lindstrom with just 11 seconds left in the first. Sweden (5-0, 14 points) held a 40-21 advantage in shots.
Martin Marincin (Edmonton Oilers) pulled Slovakia (1-4, four points) within 2-1 on a goal 9:12 into the third. Starting goalie Jan Laco (13 saves on 15 shots) was replaced by Jaroslav Janus (24 saves, 25 shots) at the start of the second period.
Magnus Nygren converted a pass from Linus Klasen 1:58 into the third to close the scoring for the Swedes, who next face Canada on Sunday with first place in Group A on the line. Slovakia will play Italy on Saturday.