Americans blank Swiss
Americans blank Swiss
U.S. vs. Czechs, Canada vs. Swiss in QF
Casey Mittelstadt scored twice, Kailer Yamamoto had a goal and an assist, and Graham McPhee added a single for the Americans. Logan Brown and Luke Martin picked up two assists apiece.
Looking ahead to battling the Czechs, U.S. head coach Danton Cole said: "Every game they play, they give the other team a hard game. We’re anticipating that it’s going to be a tough 60 minutes and that they’re going to be prepared. They’ve got skill, and they’ve added some guys since the last time we played them."
Switzerland, which finished fourth in Group A, will take on Canada in the quarter-finals.
"Canada is a very good team, like the USA," said Swiss forward Nico Hischier. "We must do the little things better and play 60 minutes of our best hockey."
U.S. netminder Joseph Woll got the shutout as his team outshot Switzerland 37-15. Swiss goalie Philip Wuthrich played well in his first action of this IIHF U18 World Championship, while number one man Matteo Ritz didn’t even dress.
Overall, with due respect to Switzerland's work ethic and attention to detail, the defending champions appeared to do just enough to pull off the win while avoiding injuries and excessive fatigue.
"I don’t think it was our best game, for sure," said U.S. captain Ryan Lindgren. "Switzerland came out hard and banged bodies. They’re a good team. But it was definitely the result we wanted. It was a good shutout for us."
The U.S. was a tad sloppy defensively to open the game. Hischier got a breakaway off the opening faceoff and Woll had to make a good stop. Kieffer Bellows was sent off for hooking, and the Americans worked hard to kill off the minor.
Entering the Swiss zone, Brown drew two defenders to him and slipped it across to Mittelstadt, who tucked a backhand between Wuthrich’s legs at 12:47.
Slick power play puck movement gave the U.S. a 2-0 lead at 16:44. Lindgren skimmed a perfect pass from the left faceoff circle to Yamamoto, who was standing on the edge of the crease and simply redirected it in for his tournament-leading fifth goal and ninth point.
"Everyone’s moving the puck and we’re just finding seams," said Yamamoto. "It’s definitely good to be on a line that moves the puck, and you just shoot when you need to shoot."
Switzerland’s failure to clear the puck away from its net helped the U.S. make it 3-0 early in the second period. At 5:24, McPhee knocked it in during a scramble.
In the third period, Wuthrich made a lovely glove save on Joey Anderson's high backhand with under five minutes left to prevent a fourth American goal.
But Mittelstadt got that fourth goal on a nice backhand deke with 3:27 remaining.
This wasn't like the last time these two teams met in IIHF U18 play. Switzerland surprised the U.S. 4-2 on April 17, 2014 for its only win in (now) eight tries.
The Americans have outscored their opposition by a whopping 30-4 margin through four games. A three-peat is three wins away for the host nation.
"Now we move on to the real stuff," Cole said.
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