U.S. solid in bounce-back win
by Andrew Podnieks|11 MAY 2024
photo: Matt Zambonin/IIHF
The Americans responded to a lukewarm opening performance yesterday with an impressive 6-1 win over Germany tonight. The result leaves both teams with 1-1 records as they enjoy a day off now before resuming action on Monday. The Americans will play Slovakia in the afternoon followed by a Germany-Sweden tilt.

The U.S. got goals from six different scorers and could have had many more but for the fine play of goalie Mathias Niederberger, making his first start of the tournament.

"It was a lot better than yesterday," said defender Michael Kesserling, who had a goal and assist in the first period. "For me, I haven't played on the big ice or for the U.S., so tonight was more comfortable. After the first period, we were saying they are good hockey players. They know how to play the game. I knew it would be a competitive game. But we're going one day at a time, so Slovakia will be a good test. They'll have the home crowd advantage. It's a different atmosphere but a cool experience."

"We had a really good start," offered German Dominik Kahun. "We came out hard and had our chances. If we had scored a couple, the game might have been different. Unfortunately, they didn't go, and the U.S. showed how good a team they are this year. We gave them too many chances."

A cautious start by both sides was punctured by the opening goal by the Americans midway through the first period. Kesserling’s quick point shot was perfectly tipped by captain Brady Tkachuk in front, over the glove of Niederberger.

Five minutes later, Kesserling was involved in a second U.S. goal, this off a three-on-two rush. Brock Nelson fed Kesserling going to the net, and he deked Niederberger into next week before tucking the puck in the open cage at 17:20. 

A mad scramble in the U.S. crease early in the second resulted in Alex Lyon having to leave the game, to be replaced by Trey Augustine, who has built an impressive resume despite being only 19 years old. He already has two medals at U18 and two more at U20 under his belt, and his career record in junior IIHF events is a staggering 17-0-2. And now, in a span of two years, he has also appeared in the senior Men’s Worlds. The change also necessitated third goalie Alex Nedeljkovic dressing as the backup.

Seconds after coming on, Augustine faced his first shot, a breakaway by Yasin Ehliz, who claimed a loose puck at centre and went in alone. Augustine was up to the task, though, making a fine pad save to inaugurate his 2024 tournament.

The Americans upped the score to 3-0 at 12:23 when Johnny Gaudreau knocked in a rebound ono the power play, and then Ehliz got that back for the Germans a minute and a half later, jamming the puck over the goal line on a mad scramble in the blue ice. 

But the backbreaker for the Germans came with only three seconds left in the period, when Luke Hughes snapped a shot over Niederberger to make it 4-1 and give the U.S. the momentum going to the dressing room.

In the third, there was no let up from the Stars 'n' Stripes, and they added to their lead at 10:09 on another power play. This time it was Trevor Zegras who popped a high shot bar down to make it 5-1. Two minutes later, Michael Eyssimont padded the score with a jam from the side of the net.
United States vs Germany - 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship