May 14, 2012, 8:32 AM EDT
It hasn’t always been pretty for Team USA at the 2012 World Championships, but after defeating Finland 5-0 the Americans have hardware officially on their minds. The victory helped punch America’s ticket into the quarterfinals for the eighth time in nine years and they’ve perhaps rounded into form at the right time.
Team USA coach Scott Gordon tells USAHockey.com that their win over the host country is the best game they’ve played in the tournament in a long time.
“That’s as good of a game as we’ve played in the four years I’ve been coming over here,” said Scott Gordon, who is the head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team for the third straight year and was an assistant for the 2009 squad. “We talked before the game about how important this game was and that every player had to contribute in some way for us to be successful. Our guys can be proud of beating a very good Finland team.”
With just one game left in the preliminary round, it’s all about jockeying for position for the quarterfinals. Team USA sits second in Group H, three points behind Canada. The U.S. has an outside shot at first but needs Canada to lose in regulation to Belarus tomorrow while and to beat Switzerland in regulation. That would be a stunning turn of events.
The United States is just one point ahead of both Slovakia and Finland. If the standings hold where they are now, Team USA would face the Czech Republic from Group S in the quarterfinals as they sit third there. Group S will see Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic, and Norway all move on to the next round.
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