|Blake Wheeler (photo: Getty)|
KOSICE, Slovakia – Cam Fowler and former Boston Bruins forward Blake Wheeler each notched a goal, but the U.S. Men's National Team fell to Sweden, 6-2, Wednesday in its final preliminary-round game of the IIHF World Men's Championship.
Team USA takes a 2-0-0-1 record into the qualification round, where it will face Canada on Friday at 10:15 a.m. EDT.
"Certainly it's disappointing to lose," said Scott Gordon (Easton, Mass.), head coach of Team USA. "We had some breakdowns that we hadn't had in previous games tonight, but part of that is a credit to Sweden. We'll have a good practice tomorrow and be ready to go against Canada on Friday."
Just over three minutes into the second period, Swedentook the lead for good when Marcus Kruger banged home a shot into an empty net from in front after U.S. goaltender Al Montoya got tied up behind the net.
Sweden scored two more goals in the middle frame to go up 4-1.
Team USA narrowed the gap 10:29 into the third period, when Craig Smith forced a turnover in the neutral zone. He then sent a quick feed to Wheeler just inside the blue line, who backhanded a shot in to pull the U.S. within two goals.
Sweden, however, notched two more goals in the last four minutes, including one on the power play, for the 6-2 victory.
Montoya made 24 saves for Team USA.