Washington

Team USA Clinches First Place in Group A With Win Over Germany in Men's Ice Hockey

Washington
IHOCKEY-OLY-2022-BEIJING-USA-GER

Three games, three wins for the U.S. menโ€™s ice hockey team in group play at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Team USA defeated Germany 3-2 in the final game of action in Group A to clinch first place in the group and earn a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Nathan Smith scored the eventual game-winner while Matt Knies and Steven Kampfer tallied the other two scores. Drew Commesso made 24 saves in his second start of the Games.

The Germans got on the board just two minutes into the game with a power play goal. Mattias Plachta looked as though he was shooting on Commesso, but instead elected to find Patrick Hager in front of the net for the tip-in.

But the United States answered with a power play goal of its own to knot the game 1-1. Kampfer rifled a slap shot from the point that got through traffic and blew past German goaltender Danny aus den Birken.

In the second period, Knies gave the U.S. its first lead of the game, cleaning up a rebound in front of the German goal.

It was challenged by Germany for goaltender interference, but it was determined it was a good goal.

In the third period, the U.S. grabbed a two-goal lead thanks to a tally less than three minutes into the frame by Smith.

The puck trickled into the slot after a turnover by Germany and Smith hacked a backhand shot that beat aus den Birken.

Germany cut the deficit in the third period with a backhand goal by Tom Kuhnhackl in front of the U.S. net, making it a one-goal game late in the third, but the U.S. held on for the 3-2 win.

The United States will have to wait and see who its next opponent will be. The three group winners and the best second-place team all automatically advance to the quarterfinals so the U.S., Finland, ROC and Sweden will not have to play in the qualification playoff.

The quarterfinal games take place Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, with the United Statesโ€™ time undetermined.