May 9, 2011

U.S. men beaten by Swiss, draw Czechs in quarters

Team USA goalie Ty Conklin reacts as Switzerland celebrates a goal during Monday's game. (photo: Getty)

KOSICE, Slovakia – James van Riemsdyk (University of New Hampshire) scored in the final two minutes of regulation to bring his team within one and then nearly tied the game in the waning seconds, but the U.S. Men's National Team fell to Switzerland, 5-3, Monday in its final qualification-round game at the IIHF World Men's Championship.

Eight different players notched a point for Team USA, which will next face the Czech Republic in the quarterfinal round on either Wednesday or Thursday in Bratislava, Slovakia.

"I really liked the way we played the first 10 minutes of the hockey game," said Scott Gordon (Easton, Mass.), head coach of Team USA. "Unfortunately, we didn't sustain it. We haven't played our best game of the tournament yet. The Czechs will be a difficult opponent, but we'll be ready to play."

Craig Smith opened the scoring for Team USA at 11:01 of the opening period, with former Boston University standout Kevin Shattenkirk getting one of the assists.

Switzerland answered just 34 seconds later when Kevin Lotscher's wrist shot beat Ty Conklin (University of New Hampshire) on the short side. Less than three minutes later, Raphael Diaz gave the Swiss the lead for good with a shot that trickled past the goal line, despite Conklin getting a piece of the puck with his left skate.

After Switzerland grabbed a two-goal lead off a rebound 1:06 into the second period, Team USA responded just over five minutes later. Andy Miele sent a nifty area pass from center ice to a streaking Ryan Shannon (Darien, Conn./Boston College), who drove to the net, halted in front and poked the puck through.

The Swiss gained a 4-2 lead with nine minutes remaining in the middle frame, when a turnover in the U.S. zone led to a one-timer that beat Conklin under the crossbar on the short side. Al Montoya replaced Conlkin in net after the goal.

With 1:43 left in regulation and Montoya pulled for an extra attacker, Team USA closed to within a goal. Van Riemsdyk, who was added to the roster on Saturday and playing in his first game of the tournament, drove to the net immediately after heading to the ice as the extra attacker. Cam Fowler stick-handled around Swiss defenders and threaded a pass from the right face-off circle to van Riemsdyk, who scored.

But the Swiss scored an empty-net goal with 17 seconds remaining to seal the victory.

Conklin and Montoya combined for 24 saves in the loss for Team USA. Shannon was named the U.S. Player of the Game.