COLOGNE, Germany – Johnny Gaudreau netted two goals and J.T. Compher scored the game winner with 8:13 to play as the U.S. Men’s National Team overcame three one-goal deficits to top Sweden, 4-3, in the third preliminary round game for both teams here at the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship at LAXNESS Arena.
“I liked our resolve and calm,” said Jeff Blashill, head coach of the 2017 U.S. Men’s National Team. “We got down early, but it didn’t faze anyone. I thought Jimmy Howard was outstanding and a real key to our success. We beat a very good hockey team tonight. It’s one win, but an important one.”
Sweden opened the scoring 2:14 into play on a power-play goal by Elias Lindholm from the top of the right circle.
Team USA responded just 1:07 later on Clayton Keller’s fourth goal in three games. Jack Eichel fired a shot off the right pad of Victor Fasth on a two-on-one rush before Keller put home the rebound.
The Swedes regained the lead with 6:37 left in the first period on Lindholm’s second tally before Gaudreau netted a partial breakaway with 1:48 left in the opening frame to tie the game.
Just :35 after Gaudreau’s tally, Victor Hedman scored on a slap shot from the high slot to give Sweden a 3-2 advantage entering the first intermission.
Gaudreau evened the score 2:57 into the second stanza when the buried a nifty, cross-ice feed by Eichel above the right shoulder of Fasth for his second goal of the contest.
Jimmy Howard kept the game tied with 14 saves in the middle frame, including a point-blank stop on a shot by Alexander Edler in the final minute of the period.
Howard continued his strong play to help Team USA kill off a pair of Swedish power plays in the first eight minutes of the final period.
Compher redirected a shot from the top of the right circle by Connor Murphy (Dublin, Ohio/Arizona Coyotes) for the game-winning goal with 8:13 to play.
Howard earned the victory with 39 saves.
Team USA (2-0-0-1; W-OTW-OTL-L) returns to action Wednesday (May 10) at 10:15 a.m. ET versus Italy (Live on NBC Sports Network; live stream on NBC Sports app and at NBCSports.com).
© 2017 Associated Press