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 and has locked up a place in the Qualification Round, while Norway has two points, with a loss and an overtime win.
USA vs. Norway 4-2 (0-2, 0-0, 4-0) Game Sheet Photos
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 U.S. players as they finally started to see some results after two periods of frustration.
"In the third we started to move a little better. We were more in sync and we started to create more, said U.S. defenceman Jack Johnson. "Earlier [in the game] we weren't playing with enough confidence and making plays. But I thought we took over the game in the third."
Norway opened the scoring at 8:09 of the first period. Ken Andre Olimb battled his way from the left wing corner to the front of the net and, amidst a maze of sticks and skates, jammed the puck in behind U.S. goalie Al Montoya, who started his second consecutive game for Team USA. The play was reviewed, but the replay showed the puck clearly crossing the goal line just inside the left post.
Just 1:13 later, during a USA power play, Anders Bastiansen picked off an errant pass just inside of the Norwegian blue line and was off at full speed towards Montoya with a breakaway chance. He finished off by scoring his second goal of the tournament to put the Polar Bears up 2-0. But, that was all they had. The magic Norway had in their opening win over Sweden just never materialized.
Team USA outshot Norway 49-15.