It had to sweat a bit more than expected Wednesday, but eventually Team USA defeated Great Britain 6-3 at the world hockey championships.
Great Britain has lost all four of its games in the tournament and hadn’t been particularly competitive, scoring only one goal and allowing 20 heading into the game against the Americans.
But Team USA, coached by the Red Wings’ Jeff Blashill, found itself tied 1-1 after one period Wednesday, forced into a much tougher outing than anticipated.
Team USA broke the game open with three second-period goals, taking a 4-1 lead, and finally earning some breathing room.
“What a crowd and a really fun environment to be a part of today,” Blashill told reporters afterward. “Great Britain played extremely hard. We certainly need to be better but we picked up three important points.”
Team USA moved into second place in Group A with eight points (3-1-0), trailing first-place Germany (12) by four points.
Great Britain goalie Ben Bowns was outstanding, making 59 saves. Team USA outshot its opponents 65-26.
“We had a good mindset and we managed to play some good hockey and score some goals,” said forward Robert Farmer, a British forward, to reporters. “We have a lot of character. We knew we had a bad day (Tuesday, a 9-0 loss to Denmark) but we showed good spirit (against USA). It took a lot of hard work to get here, and we’re excited.”
Team USA moved into second place in Group A with eight points (3-1-0), trailing first-place Germany by one point.
Brady Skjei, Chris Kreider, Alex DeBrincat (Farmington Hills), Clayton Keller, Brett Perlini and James van Riemsdyk scored U.S. goals.
The 65 shots were a single-game USA record in the men’s world championships, as were the 26 shots in the second period.
Forward Patrick Kane had a goal and two assists to move past 1980 gold medalist and USA Hockey Hall of Famer Mark Johnson and become Team USA’s all-time scorer in the world championship tournament (36 points, Johnson had 33).
Interestingly, Larkin is close behind with 32 points.
“It’s special when you think of all the great American players, all the kids that grow up in the USA, dreaming of playing hockey, dreaming of playing for their country,” Kane said. “I’ve really enjoyed this tournament. This is my third time over here. It would be really nice to win it more than anything.”
USA plays Denmark on Saturday (6:15 a.m./NHL Network) and Germany on Sunday (10:15 a.m./NHL Network).