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USA Storms Back For The Victory

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers

KOSICE – Nick Palmieri and Craig Smith both scored power play goals for the USA in the third period to cap a 4-2, come from behind, win over Norway.

Palmieri’s goal, his second of the game, came at 13:44 from a sharp angle off to the right of Norwegian goaltender Lars Haugen. Smith nailed it down with another power play goal at 18:34. The USA now has two wins and six points in Group C, while Norway has two points, with a loss and an overtime win.

It was an unusual game. Despite trailing 2-0 after two periods, it was the USA that held the territorial advantage, but the Norwegians just never got into serious trouble. Never got caught that badly out of position, or gave the U.S. shooters that great of an angle to fire from. There was also the issue of the Americans just not being able to get things rolling.

It wasn’t that the USA was particularly awful. It was just one of those games a team plays that is almost painful to watch – they have the puck a lot but can’t do anything with it. Passes don’t hit the mark, scoring chances either punish the boards behind the net or thump into the middle of the logo on the goalie’s sweater.
The Americans had two power plays in the second half of the second period and, on both occasions, just couldn’t get the puck to the front of the net. Cam Fowler had the best chance during the second power play when he blasted a shot from near the right face off circle that actually almost avoided the goalie. It must have been a frustrating afternoon if you were a fan of the USA.

The USA finally got unstuck early in the third period. Chris Kreider sent a beautiful pass from the left wing that found Palmieri breaking in on the right side and finishing off by tapping the puck in behind Haugen. 2:43 after that goal, Jack Skille tied the game at 2-2. Skille was just off of the left edge of the crease, and Tim Stapleton found him with a quick pass from along the right wing boards. You could almost feel the relief radiating from the US players as they finally started to see some results after two periods of frustration.

Skille finished with the goal on two shots and 8:48 of ice time (12 shifts). Defenseman Clay Wilson had a shot on net on 11:30 of ice time (16 shifts).

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