May 10, 2012, 4:58 PM EDT
It was a classic bookend game for Team USA. They started and ended their game with Belarus on fire on their way to a 5-3 win at the World Championships in Helsinki.
Goals from Justin Abdelkader and Cam Atkinson in the opening 6:31 of the first period helped chase Belorussian starting goalie Andrei Mezin from the game and get the United States out flying. Things wouldn’t stay hot for long though as over the following period and a half, Belarus was able to tie the game up. Late in the second and into the third period, however, America stepped up.
Nate Thompson broke the tie late in the second period while Bobby Ryan and Paul Stastny scored in the third to put Team USA up 5-2. Belarus would add a five-on-three power play goal with 10 seconds remaining to provide the final tally that would be too little, too late. Jimmy Howard finished with 23 saves for the win.
With the win, Team USA holds sits in third place in Group H, four points behind unbeaten Finland and two back of Canada. The Americans have to keep winning, however, because Slovakia and Switzerland are each just two points behind. Only the top four teams qualify for the quarterfinals and the U.S. does not have the tiebreaker over Slovakia. Team USA’s two remaining games are against Finland and Switzerland.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
- Video: Bolts lose Garrison, Paquette in loss to Wings 1
- Bruins ruin Lundqvist’s return 24
- Video: Letang hospitalized after Doan hit (Update) 40
- Bruins chalk Rask’s absence up to dehydration (Update) 4
- Happy returns: Datsyuk plays for Detroit 2
- Gearing up: Malkin, Hornqvist return for Pens 0
- Five big games to watch this weekend 8
- Video: Kessel, Booth get into altercation at Leafs practice 34
- Playoff watch — what the bubble teams need to do 29
- After Howard fails to ‘bounce back,’ Mrazek to receive ‘opportunity’ 36
- Dreger: ‘In Kessel’s case, I firmly believe he’s going to be traded’ (73)
- Coyotes ‘win’ against Sabres in OT (58)
- Red Wings beat Blues in OT, but should winning goal count? (56)
- Tank-worthy? Connor McDavid finishes OHL season with 120 points in 47 games (56)
- Report: No fine or suspension for Tyler Toffoli’s hit on Alex Burrows (51)