Young Americans win, face Finns in semis
by Andrew Podnieks|26 MAY 2022
Team USA’s Adam Gaudette celebrates his goal against Switzerland.
photo: Andrea Cardin / HHOF-IIHF Images
Team USA scored twice in the first, held on for dear life in the second, and battened the hatches in the third to eliminate the previously undefeated Swiss, 3-0, and earn one of four precious spots in this weekend's semi-finals in Tampere. No matter what happens in that game, the young team will be playing for a medal on Sunday.

Goaltender Jeremy Swayman was a difference maker for the U.S. Despite being outshot, 33-22, he was perfect on the night and kept the team in the game in a second period in which the Swiss dominated. 

Swayman was not alone, though. Captain Seth Jones logged an impressive 29:41 of ice time, out there in every key situation and helping the team keep its poise.

"It feels good," Jones said. "We enjoy it right now. Our line-up played quite well up and down. It was a great team effort. We executed our game plan pretty well. It comes to team defence. Forwards are coming back helping us out making our lives easier, and our goalie, I can’t say enough about Swayzs. He made big saves when we needed them. We’re excited to go back [to Tampere] and to compete for a medal. We didn’t do that great against Finland last time, so we enjoy this tonight and will be ready to go the next game."

The Swiss came in to the game with seven wins in a row and averaging nearly five goals a game, but they couldn't capitalize on their scoring chances. The U.S., meanwhile, came in with only 18 goals scored in seven games, fewest among the quarter-finalists. But they made the two they scored in the first hold up, and that's all that matters.

"The first period was really good," said Ryan Hartman. "Second period, they had a push, and we took care of business and in the third period. Sways made some big saves for us in the second. We knew they were going to push in the second, but we were able to keep them off the scoresheet. I think we deserved to be a higher seed. We let a couple games get away. Obviously, the Swiss had a good preliminary round without losing a game. We knew it was gonna be a good battle, but we got a lead early and that ice tends to get a little chippy. It's hard to score later in the game. So we stressed that a lot."

"Disappointed for sure," offered Swiss captain Nico Hischier. "We had lots of hopes coming in here. It's really disappointing right now. It was a frustrating game. The puck doesn't want to go in. But you've just got to find a way. Credit to them, credit to their goalie. They played well. We've just got to find a way to win these games. It's not the first time we're in this situation. During this tournament we had a couple of first periods that weren’t great. If we play better in the first period, we give ourselves a chance to win hockey games. It doesn’t matter how good you do in the group phase. In the end, it’s this game that counts and we lost that. We have to learn from it."
Finland vs Slovakia (QF) - 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship
FIN SVK 26 MAY 2022
The Americans played a perfect first period. Scoring chances were limited both ways, but they scored on theirs and the Swiss misfired on theirs. It was a session of close checking, cautious play, so it wasn’t surprising that it took a power play to generate the first goal. And that went to the U.S. when Timo Meier took a tripping penalty midway through.

The Americans got a bit of luck after the Swiss failed to clear. Ben Meyers jammed the puck from the side of the goal, and it bounced off the skate of Calvin Thurkauf and in at 11:59.

They made it 2-0 on another fortuitous play. A long, high clearing bounced at the Swiss blue line as American Adam Gaudette chased it down, Dominik Egli in hot pursuit. It looked like he was going to get some help when Leonardo Genoni came well out of his net to play the puck, but the goalie flubbed it and Gaudette knocked it into the open cage at 16:42.

The Swiss, meanwhile, had two or three good chances of their own, most Marco Miranda who walked right in only to fire it high and wide. The second period was much better, though. They came out full throttle right from the faceoff and overwhelmed the U.S. for much of the period. They came out of their own end with confidence, generated many scoring chances off the rush, controlled the puck in the U.S. end, and had the only two power plays of the period. They did everything you could ask for—with one exception. They couldn’t beat Jeremy Swayman in goal. He was rock solid when he had to be, sensational when he had to be. Square to the shooter, no rebounds, he was a rock. Shots were 17-6 for the Swiss, but the middle period was without a goal.

Timo Meier wired a shot off the post in the first minute, Dean Kukan blasted a shot high, and Swayman was letter perfect. The play of the period came from leading scorer Denis Malgin, who blew through the U.S. defence and created a breakaway through brute speed – only to be denied by the goalie.

The U.S. made it 3-0 at 14:06 of the third off a turnover at their blue line. Karson Kuhlman dashed up the right side on a two-on-one and got the puck oer to Ben Meyers, who redirected it in for the insurance marker.

The Swiss played most of the last five minutes with an empty net and sixth attacker, but that's when the Americans were at their best inside their own line. Despite several attempts at the empty net, thoug, they couldn't up the count, hitting the post from long range twice. No problem. They are off to a tough semi-finals date with the hosts on Saturday in what promises to be another thriller.
Switzerland vs United States (QF) - 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship