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Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky
, defenseman Matt Gilroy, and prospect Chris Kreider
helped Team USA to its third straight victory -- and a sweep of the relegation round -- on Tuesday at the IIHF World Championship tournament in Cologne, Germany.
The Americans' 3-2 win over Italy in an eight-round overtime shootout ensured that Team USA will be back in the World Championships' elite division next year. The U.S. squad needed to finish first or second in the four-team relegation round, and it ended up first overall with a perfect 3-0 record and eight of nine possible points, outscoring its opponents 16-2 in regulation.
Dubinsky enjoyed a truly remarkable week in Germany with a tournament-leading 10 points in three relegation-round games. He paced Team USA with a goal and an assist. He teamed with Gilroy to set up Ryan Potulny for the game-tying goal with only 8:52 remaining in the third period.
With 20:02 of ice time, Dubinsky led all U.S. forwards on Tuesday. Playing in the top line with David Moss of the Calgary Flames and Nick Foligno of the Ottawa Senators, Dubinsky also fired five shots on goal. His performance in the third period was particularly clutch, as he skated 6:47 -- much of it at crunch time when the Americans were looking to tie the score.
Gilroy's assist gave him four points in the tournament, including a hat trick in the 10-0 win over Kazakhstan. On Tuesday, Gilroy was again paired oin defense with Taylor Chorney. He saw 8:45 of ice time and had two shots on goal.
Kreider, who recently completed his freshman season at Boston College, remained on a line with Potulny and Eric Nystrom for most of the game. He saw 11:59 of action and had a shot on goal. The only college player on team USA, Kreider finished the tournament with a goal, assist and plus-3 rating.
The dramatic shootout went beyond the three-round limit, meaning the Americans could use any skater in Rounds 4 to 8. Team USA opted to go with T.J. Oshie of the St. Louis Blues in all four of those rounds, and Oshie delivered the winner by beating Canadian-born Italian netminder Daniel Bellissimo. Oshie had also scored in the first and fifth rounds.
Jack Johnson and Ryan Potultny were the other U.S. shooters. Both players were stopped by Bellissimo. Team USA goalie Scott Clemmensen allowed a goal to Italy's first shooter, Alexander Egger before allowing another goal to Nicola Fontanive in Round 5. Those were the only two scores given up by Clemmensen in the shootout.
Team USA outshot Italy 51-28 in 65 minutes leading up to the shootout, but struggled to get the puck past a heroic Bellissimo. The former Western Michigan University netminder from Ontario, who now plays in Italy, was at his best in the third period, stopping 18 of 19 shots to force overtime.
As a Canadian playing for Italy, Bellissimo wasn't alone. Nearly half of the members of the Italian team were born and raised in North America, playing major-junior or college hockey.
The Americans jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a power play at 11:45 of the first period when Dubinsky scored his third goal of the tournament off assists from New Jersey defenseman Andy Greene and Edmonton's Potulny. The goal came just 10 seconds after an Italian penalty to former University of Minnesota defenseman and Devils second-round draft pick Matt DeMarchi.
Italy tied the game in the second period on a goal by Giulio Scandella at the 14-minute mark. The Italians then took a surprising 2-1 lead at 6:49 of the third when Stefano Margoni beat Clemmensen, but Team USA responded when Potulny scored off assists from Dubinsky and Gilroy at 11:08 of the third to send the game to overtime. Dubinsky's assist was his seventh at this year's IIHF World Championship and his tournament-leading 10th point.