COLOGNE – It was one of those bittersweet moments for the United States at the IIHF World Championship on Tuesday.
T.J. Oshie scored on a wrist shot in a sudden-death shootout to give the United States a 3-2 win over Italy at the 2010 Worlds. Oshie was the seventh shooter for the Americans and he took all three shots in sudden death for the USA.
The point the USA gained when the buzzer sounded to end the third period and sent the game to overtime guaranteed that the Americans would not be demoted to the IIHF’s second tier. The USA wound up in first place in the relegation pool, while France was second.
"The hockey gods were not with us," said USA defenceman Jack Johnson. "I am glad we can look forward to next year. We're glad it is over but we're glad for next year."
"There was an immense amount of pressure," said Brandon Dubinsky. "I do not know if a U.S. team was ever relegated before, and none of us wanted to be a part of the first one."
Italy and kazakhstan were demoted.
"We got a point out of a good team, that was good," said Italian forward Roland Ramoser. "I think we did a good job here, but we should have beaten France, that's where we lost the tournament,"
The USA went into the game knowing the easiest way to avoid the embarrassment of being sent down was to beat the Italians and there were times when the U.S. played so much in the Italian end someone might have though the ice was tilted.
The Italians sent a shockwave across the U.S. bench at 6:49 of the third period on a goal by Stefano Margoni put Italy ahead 2-1. He took a pass at centre and was in full flight when he sent a wrist shot that got past goalie Scott Clemmensen, who didn’t look sharp on the play.
Italy was close to a sensation as they needed the full three points to stay in the top division. The Italians would have had to beat the USA by eight or more goals to help send the USA to the second tier of international hockey.
The Americans put on a full court press after the Italians went up 2-1 in an attempt to get the equalizer but goaltender Daniel Bellissimo was up to the challenge, and he had help from his teammates. The Italians often had all five skaters below the top of the faceoff circles in their end and not as many shots made it through the maze as the U.S. would have liked.
But there was nothing Bellissimo could do when Ryan Potulny pounced on a rebound and shoveled the puck into the net to tie the game at 11:08 of the third while the U.S. was on a power play.
American forward David Moss was robbed of a goal on a breakaway with 44 seconds left in the third period when Bellissimo kicked out his right pad to boot a backhand shot into the corner.
Dubinsky scored his third goal and collected his ninth point of the 16-team tournament in the first period to open the scoring. The U.S. was on its second power play of the first period when Dubinsky stepped into a slap shot that beat Bellissimo high to the stick side at 11:45.
Giulio Scandella broke free of the USA defence and scored on a breakaway with six minutes left in the second period, ending the USA’s shutout run at exactly 154 minutes, to tie the game at 14:00.
The Americans had shutouts over Kazakhstan and France in earlier relegation pool games. The last time the U.S. won back-to-back games in the same year without allowing a goal in the World Championship was in 1939 with a 4-0 victory over Poland and a 1-0 triumph over Czechoslovakia on in preliminary-round play.