Looking to ring in the New Year in style in the last game of the preliminaries, the United States had a lot to play for.
But so did the Swiss.
Both looking for seeding into the medal rounds, the US finishing first with a win or second or third with a loss and Switzerland finishing second with a regulation win, the two teams played a close game. In the end the United States would end up getting the victory and going out 2010 on a high with a hard fought 2-1 victory. Jack Campbell turned aside 16 shots in the victory while Benjamin stopped 32 shots in the loss.
"It was a good test for us. Certainly a hard fought game," said Panthers prospect Drew Shore
who finished with two shots and was a minus-one. "We're just happy to win that one."
"The Swiss are a good fast team and we expected that out of them," said Panthers prospect Nick Bjugstad
after finishing with one shot on net. "We pulled one out. I think it was good for out team to go into the medal rounds to deal with some adversity."
"We knew this was a huge game for us," said Red Wings Mitch Callahan who would net the eventual game winner in the second period.
Switzerland did a great job of clogging the neutral zone, giving the Americans all kinds of fits for the majority of the game.
"Very frustrating especially when we love to create offense, " said Shore of the Swiss' trap game. "We tried to use our speed wide and they did a really good job always having a third guy high. They didn't really give us a lot of odd man rushes."
With the win, the United States will begin the medal rounds with a bye on Sunday and will play the winner of the Canada/Switzerland game.
"I think it's a good advantage to get those couple of days off," said Bjugstad. "If you have to play an extra game, it's going to tire you out a little bit. We'll get our legs rested and we'll be ready to go for that semi-final game.
The Swiss would jump on the board first 7:01 into the game. Skating in off a two-on-one rush up the ice, Inti Pestoni would beat Jack Campbell under his right arm. It was the first time that the Americans trailed in the tournament.
|Drew Shore following the United States 2-1 victory |
Sharks prospect Charlie Coyle, continuing to be an offensive presence for the United States would set up Chris Kreider for the power play goal to tie it at one 3:14 later. Working behind the net, Coyle found Kreider in front who shot it far post to beat Conz.
After one period of play, the United States held a 19-10 advantage shots but it was all knotted.
"We got down early but I don't think anyone doubted ourselves," said Shore. "I think we were all pretty confident that if we played our game, we'd be successful and we have got to be able to play up a goal and down a goal if we want to win a gold medal so that was a good test for us."
The away team looked to get their second lead of the game 7:51 into the second period. Switzerland threw a puck off the back boards and back onto Campbell. The officials ended up going to a replay to see that the puck did not cross the goal line.
It was the Americans who would net the all-important next goal. Callahan's wraparound would beat Conz to the close post with 6:08 left in the middle frame.
|Mitch Callahan following the United States 2-1 victory |
Callahan had a chance to make it a two-goal game less than a minute into the third. Shorthanded, he snuck a shot pass Conz and through the crease but there was no one to bang home the puck into the empty net.
The Swiss had their chances to tie it up early in the final stanza. Sven Bartschi rang one squarly off the post off a rush up the ice with 4:50 gone in the third while Campbell had to get over to stop Tristan Scherwey's wrap-around attempt with seven minutes gone.
Conz would come up big with two seperate saves on Chris Brown with 6:33 left to play in the third. After Bjugstad found Brown with the cross-ice feed, Brown would let it rip and then followed up his own shot but to no avail.
Campbell would them come up with maybe the save of the game. Wit 3:59 left to play in the contest, Brian Dumoulin fell down while trying to take the puck out of his own zone. With the puck sitting there, a Swiss attacker jumped on the puck and Campbell had to make two saves on the opportunity.