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Team USA Edged At World Championships; Smith Continues Hot Streak

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators
U.S. Men's National Team Falls to Switzerland, 5-3, in Qualification Round of 2011 IIHF World Men's Championship

Despite Loss, Team USA Advances to Quarterfinal Round; Will Face Czech Republic

KOSICE, Slovakia – James van Riemsdyk (Middletown, N.J./Philadelphia Flyers/University of New Hampshire) scored in the final two minutes of regulation to bring the U.S. within one and then nearly tied the game in the waning seconds, but the U.S. Men's National team fell to Switzerland, 5-3, here today in its final qualification-round game at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Men's Championship. Eight different players notched a point for Team USA, which will next face the Czech Republic in the quarterfinal round on either Wednesday (May 11) or Thursday (May 12) in Bratislava, Slovakia.

"I really liked the way we played the first 10 minutes of the hockey game," said Scott Gordon, head coach of Team USA. "Unfortunately, we didn't sustain it. We haven't played our best game of the tournament yet. The Czechs will be a difficult opponent, but we'll be ready to play."

Craig Smith (Madison, Wis./University of Wisconsin) opened the scoring for Team USA at 11:01 of the opening period. After a faceoff win in the offensive zone, Kevin Shattenkirk (New Rochelle, N.Y./St. Louis Blues/Boston University) slid the puck over to Clay Wilson (Sturgeon Lake, Minn./Florida Panthers/Michigan Tech University) at the left point. Wilson then connected with Smith driving toward the net, who sent the puck past Tobias Stephan on the right side.

Switzerland answered just 34 seconds later when Kevin Lotscher's wrist shot beat Ty Conklin (Anchorage, Alaska/St. Louis Blues/University of New Hampshire) on the short side. Less than three minutes later, Raphael Diaz gave the Swiss the lead for good with a shot that trickled past the goal line, despite Conklin getting a piece of the puck with his left skate. Mike Brown (Northbrook, Ill./Toronto Maple Leafs/University of Michigan) nearly cleared the puck before it crossed the goal line, but video review confirmed the puck fully crossed the goal line.

After Switzerland grabbed a two-goal lead off a rebound 1:06 into the second period, Team USA responded just over five minutes later. Andy Miele (Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich./Phoenix Coyotes/Miami University) sent a nifty area pass from center ice to a streaking Ryan Shannon (Darien, Conn./Ottawa Senators/Boston College), who drove to the net, halted in front and poked the puck through Stephan.

The Swiss gained a 4-2 lead with nine minutes remaining in the middle frame, when a turnover in the U.S. zone led to a one-timer that beat Conklin under the crossbar on the short side. Al Montoya (Glenview, Ill./New York Islanders/University of Michigan) replaced Conlkin in net after the goal.

With 1:43 left in regulation and Montoya pulled for an extra attacker, Team USA closed to within a goal. van Riemsdyk, who was added to the roster on Saturday (May 7) and playing in his first game of the tournament, drove to the net immediately after heading to the ice as the extra attacker. Cam Fowler (Farmington Hills, Mich./Anaheim Ducks) stickhandled around Swiss defenders and threaded a pass from the right faceoff circle to van Riemsdyk who beat Stephan.

The Swiss scored an empty-net goal with :17 remaining to seal the victory.

Conklin and Montoya combined for 24 saves in the loss for Team USA, while Stephan stopped 31 shots for Switzerland in the win.

NOTES: Ryan Shannon was named the U.S. Player of the Game ... The U.S. will learn the date and time of its quarterfinal game after all games in the tournament are concluded today. All remaining games will be played in Bratislava, including two quarterfinal games on Wednesday (May 11) and two on Thursday (May 12) ... Philadelphia Flyers' forward James van Riemsdyk was added to the U.S. roster on Saturday (May 7) and skated in today's game. The updated 2011 U.S. Men's National Team roster can be found here ... Team USA's media guide can be downloaded here ... U.S. scoring updates throughout the tournament are be available on Twitter by following #2011WMC. For Team USA coverage from Slovakia throughout the IIHF World Men's Championship, including game blogs and postgame video, visit the U.S. Men's National Team blog ... The U.S. Men's National Team's fourth-place finish at the 2009 IIHF World Men's Championship was Team USA's best finish at the tournament since capturing the bronze medal in 2004 ... The 2011 U.S. Men’s National Team is under the direction of the U.S. Men’s National Team Advisory Group, including NHL general managers Brian Burke (Toronto), Paul Holmgren (Philadelphia), Dean Lombardi (Los Angeles), David Poile (Nashville), Ray Shero (Pittsburgh) and Dale Tallon (Florida); Atlanta Thrashers president Don Waddell; and Jim Johannson, USA Hockey's assistant executive director for hockey operations. Paul Fenton, assistant general manager of the Nashville Predators and general manager of the American Hockey League's Milwaukee Admirals, is serving as associate general manager of the 2011 U.S. Men's National Team ... Scott Gordon is head coach for the second consecutive year after leading the 2010 U.S. Men's National Team, while Greg Cronin, Phil Housley and Barry Smith are serving as assistants ... USA Hockey's international council, chaired by Tony Rossi, vice president of USA Hockey, has oversight responsibilities for all U.S. national teams ... Versus will provide television coverage of the first six U.S. games at the 2011 IIHF World Men's Championship, in addition to the semifinal round and gold-medal game. For more information, visit

Scoring By Period
SUI 2- 2- 1- 5
USA 1- 1- 1- 3

First Period - Scoring: 1, USA, Smith (Wilson), 11:01; 2, SUI, Lotscher (Trachsler, Moser), 11:35; 3, SUI, Diaz (Pluss, Ruthemann), 14:10. Penalties: USA, Johnson (cross-checking), 14:41.

Second Period - Scoring: 4, SUI, Ruthemann (Bieber, Pluss), 1:06; 5, USA, Shannon (Miele), 6:09; 6, SUI, Lotscher (unassisted), 11:00. Penalties: SUI, Seger (slashing), 16:28; USA, Skille (high-sticking), 19:50.

Third Period - Scoring: 7, USA, van Riemsdyk (Fowler, Stepan), 18:17; 8, SUI, Gardner (Pluss, Trachsler), 19:43 (en). Penalties: SUI, Pluss (hooking), 7:17; SUI, Bieber (holding), 14:54.

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