HELSINKI – Team USA players gave their mothers a nice Mother's Day present in a form of a 5-0 win over Finland.
Max Pacioretty scored one and added an assist, Jimmy Howard made 18 saves en route to a shutout.
Click here for a video with post-game comments.
"We didn't expect the score to be like that, but I don't think it was indicative of the game. We took a few penalties and gave them some life to get back in it, but our penalty kill was huge," said Bobby Ryan who scored the last goal of the game.
"We knew that they were a fast and hard working team, but we just couldn't match that," said Mika Pyörälä.
In the game against Canada, Finland started very strong, and the home crowd expected a similar start to the game tonight. They got disappointed when the U.S. took control of the game, and opened scoring at 16:19.
Mikko Mäenpää went to the corner to stop the puck after a faceoff in the Finnish zone. The puck hit Max Pacioretty who flipped it towards the net mid-air. Lehtonen made the initial save but Pacioretty was all alone in front the net and could take the rebound and backhand it in to give the Americans 1-0 lead in the game at 16:19.
It was Pacioretty’s second goal and ninth point in the tournament.
It was Team USA that had control of the game in the second period as well. Finland killed off two penalties, but at 15:33 Kyle Palmieri made it a two-goal game.
Cam Atkinson got the puck behind the net, and Palmieri open in front of the net. He made a quick move from forehand to backhand and beat Lehtonen on the stick side. It was his first goal of the tournament.
"It was a pretty physical game. Playing in front of their home fans, we knew it would be emotional, but we didn't lose our focus. No matter what they threw at us, we had an answer," Palmieri said.
And if Finland wanted to get back into the game, they shouldn’t have take penalties, but unfortunately for the home crowd, they did. Mikael Granlund took a slashing penalty for breaking Bobby Ryan’s stick at 37:24. Just 32 seconds later, the puck was in Finland’s net.
"We weren't ready to play tonight. We have to analyze this, and move forward. We took too many penalties, too. They were good but not the score doesn't really reflect the game," said Finnish defenceman Janne Niskala.
Pacioretty played the puck to Jack Johnson on the point. Johnson was about to take a slapshot but instead, passed the puck to Justin Faulk who slapped in his fourth of the tournament from the top of the left faceoff circle to make it 3-0 with 2:04 remaining in the second period.
"We wanted to focus on getting pucks deep and making it a nightmare for their defencemen going back. They hadn't been hit a lot. Outside of the Canada game, they haven't seen physicality," Ryan said.
With 20 minutes to go, Finland came back to the third period determined to claw its way back into the game. However, Chris Butler’s wrist shot from the blueline found its way through traffic and to the back of Finland’s net just 2:12 into the period, letting the air out of Finland’s tires.
Bobby Ryan got his third of the tournament 1:56 after Butler's goal when Craig Smith found him completely uncovered in front of the net. Lehtonen didn’t have a chance and Ryan made it 5-0 at 4:08 into the second period.
Anssi Salmela received a game penalty for boarding when he pushed Goligoski into the boards at 15:03, but Finland killed off the five-minute penalty. Goligoski left the ice on his own.
Finland was forced to make a goalie change with eight minutes remaining when Kari Lehtonen injured himself when an American player fell and took Lehtonen down with him.
Team USA passed Finland in the standings, but the teams are likely to meet again soon, in the quarter-final.
"We'll probably play these guys in four days, so it's nice to know we can win," said Ryan.