USA Hockey won Group B and secured the top seed as the IIHF World Championships head to the knockout stage. Thanks to Team Canada taking Finland to overtime, Team USA knew coming into the game all they needed was a regulation win over Italy to secure the top spot. The Americans did just that beating the Italians 4-2. Team USA scored three first-period goals and then shut down the Italians from there. Both Kevin Labanc (San Jose Sharks) and Conor Garland (Arizona Coyotes) scored two goals each to power the American offense. USA goalie Jake Oettinger (Dallas Stars) only had to make nine saves as the Americans kept the puck in the Italian zone for most of the game. Here are the highlights from the game.

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Brian Boyle

Prior to the start of the game, USA Hockey released a statement informing the media that USA Captain Justin Abdelkader would miss the rest of the tournament. Abdelkader suffered a lower-body injury in their previous game against Germany. The team also announced that 36-year-old Brian Boyle would take over the Captaincy for the remainder of the tournament. I talked to Brian postgame about being named the Captain in Justin’s absence.

Clinching Group B

Today’s win gave Team USA six regulation-wins for the second time in tournament history. The only other year being 2017. The last time the United States took home the Gold at a World Championships was in 1933. They are credited with the win in 1960 as well since the Olympic Champion was also considered the World Champion. After their sixth straight win I talked to USA Hockey Head Coach Jack Capuano. I asked him about the win, what it meant to win the group and to be the top seed coming out of the preliminary round.

Upcoming for Team USA

Team USA’s Quarterfinal matchup is set. They will play Team Slovakia on Wednesday at 9:15 AM EST. Slovakia finished as the fourth seed in Group A. In group play, they had a record of four wins and three losses. They are the only team to advance to the knockout stage with a negative goal differential. They have scored 17 goals while letting up 22. A familiar name to look out for is former New York Rangers player Marek Hrivík. Hrivík has six points in the tournament and has a team-leading +7 +/- rating. He and former Boston Bruin Peter Cehlarik form a dangerous top line duo.

Be sure to bookmark our hockey page for hockey coverage and follow Belly Up Hockey on Twitter: @BellyUpHockey. Follow me on Twitter for more takes on the New York Rangers and USA Hockey: @KHallNYYou can also listen to my NY Rangers podcast The Broadway Hat Podcast on Apple Podcast and Spotify for Rangers news and interviews with past and current players.

About Author

Kyle Hall

Kyle is a lifelong diehard New York Rangers fan and in 2020 took over as the teams beat writer for Belly Up Sports. Kyle hosts a NY Rangers podcast on the Belly Up Podcast Network called The Broadway Hat Podcast. Kyle also covers USA Hockey and is a credentialed media member of the International Ice Hockey Federation.

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