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U.S. men’s hockey team wins first 7 games of worlds for first time

IIHF World Championship

USA’s defender Lane Hutson (L) celebrates scoring with his team-mates during the IIHF Ice Hockey Men’s World Championships Preliminary Round - Group A match between Sweden and the US in Tampere, Finland, on May 23, 2023. (Photo by Emmi Korhonen / Lehtikuva / AFP) / Finland OUT (Photo by EMMI KORHONEN/Lehtikuva/AFP via Getty Images)

Lehtikuva/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. men’s hockey team won its first seven games of a world championship for the first time in history, running the table in group play to reach Thursday’s quarterfinals.

The Americans beat Sweden 4-3 in overtime in Tuesday’s group finale at a tournament co-hosted by Finland and Latvia.

Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dylan Samberg scored 97 seconds into overtime after the U.S. squandered a 3-1 lead in the third period. The U.S. gets Czechia (formerly called the Czech Republic) in the quarterfinals.

The Americans also won in group play over Finland (4-1), Hungary (7-1), Germany (3-2), Austria (4-1), Denmark (3-0) and France (9-0).

The U.S. won its first six games at a worlds once before, in 2018.

While the NHL didn’t participate in the last two Olympics, some NHL players annually play at the world championship, which takes place during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

This year’s U.S. team, which includes three 2022 Olympians, has zero players with NHL All-Star experience for the first time at worlds since 2010. In most years, there have been one or two players with All-Star experience while most choose rest after a seven-month NHL campaign or are still playing in the NHL playoffs.

The U.S. head coach is San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn, who also coached the U.S. at the 2022 Olympics (quarterfinals) and 2022 Worlds (fourth place).

Last year, the U.S. men lost a world championship semifinal for an 11th consecutive time, again missing out on a first gold or silver finish since 1950. The only time the U.S. won the title at a standalone worlds was in 1933, when it played five games.

The U.S. lost all 11 of its semifinals at worlds since the IIHF reinstituted a bracketed playoff round in 1992.

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