Johnson just in time
Switzerland falls short but shows signs of life
MINSK- Team USA prevailed 3-2 over a determined Swiss team. Tyler Johnson's third period tally from a Seth Jones pass gave the Americans the win.
Switzerland were disappointed with two close offside calls that went against them in the third when they thought they'd scored on each occasion.
In the first period, the Americans were able to point shots on net but not get a goal. Switzerland, too, had their share of chances. The line of Kevin Romy, Damien Brunner and Simon Moser was ignited in the period getting four of the 11 Swiss shots.
The Americans had a brief flurry near the end of the first period when they had a two-on-one. Unlike their match against Belarus where they took a 1-0 lead into the second period, the Americans would remain in a scoreless tie after one.
"It was a back-to-back today and that's tough." Said Tim Thomas. "We have to find the energy from somewhere. Most players from the NHL are used to getting a bit of time off, but we've come out here, dealt with the time change and there's not been much time to practice. Playing like this is rough, at least I know it's rough on me, so it's great to come up with two wins."
Switzerland would get on the scoreboard first when Denis Hollenstein took a clean pass from Kevin Fiala and skated down his wing and went far side on Tim Thomas, who was making his second start.
Hollenstein was an impact player for Switzerland last year in their World Championship run when he notched four goals and four points. For Fiala it was his first point in World Championship play. Fiala has earned the distinction of playing in the U18, U20 and now senior men’s World Championships, all in the same year.Continue reading
When Peter Mueller was whistled for tripping, Switzerland threatened to open up their lead but the Americans not only killed off the penalty but created opportunity as Mueller's sin bin time ended.
Tim Stapleton saw Mueller exit the box and fed him a pass that sent him off to the races. Mueller beat Berra through the pads with 13:45 left in the period.
Switzerland broke the tie when Damien Brunner scored. Kevin Romy’s soft backhand pass slid underneath Thomas’s glove in front where Brunner, who had Danny DeKeyser covering him, tapped it in.
The Swiss were driving more to the net in the period and featured their best chances yet. Indeed, they were playing with more confidence than they did against Russia.
A Swiss penalty on Robin Grossman with 7.6 seconds meant the Americans would start the critical third period on the power play. With 24 seconds remaining on the Grossman penalty in the third frame, Craig Smith scored to make it 2-2.
Tyler Johnson’s pass to Brock Nelson tipped on goal. The puck found its way on Smith’s stick in front for the put away.
"Our line's playing well, and the PP is getting points which is always important in a tournament like this. It great to get that chemistry together." Said Johnson.
Both teams had near misses in the third. Drew Shore hit the crossbar and Switzerland thought it retook the lead midway through the period when Thomas Rufenacht. Rufenacht took a long pass close to the American blue line and appeared to score on Thomas but it was waived off as he was ruled offside.
The call upset the Swiss bench and their many supporters in attendance.
Team USA regained momentum and the lead when Seth Jones took the puck deep to the right of the Swiss net, spun around and sent a pass to Tyler Johnson who was covering the point. Johnson fired off a shot that beat Berra at 13:15 of the period.
Switzerland answered back quickly with Simon Moser thinking he scored off a rebound of a Damien Brunner shot but they were once again ruled offside.
"They looked offside and the officials called it," offered USA's Johnson. "The linesmen only have a split second to make decisions. I don't know if it was right or wrong, but they have a tough job to do."
Switzerland kept pressing, getting opportunities by Eric Blum and Roman Josi in the last two minutes of the game. A save a 5.9 seconds remaining on a Josi shot from the point was the last big save of the game.