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Team USA opens Men's World Championship with 4-1 win over Finland

Casey DeSmith makes 23 saves and Alex Tuch nets pair of goals as Team USA downs host Finland

Dec 15, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Buffalo Sabres right wing Alex Tuch (89) controls the puck ahead of Colorado Avalanche center Andrew Cogliano (11) in the first period at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Buffalo Sabres right wing Alex Tuch (89) controls the puck ahead of Colorado Avalanche center Andrew Cogliano (11) in the first period at Ball Arena on Dec 15, 2022. Tuch scored two goals Friday in Team USA's 4-1 win over Finland.
Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports

TAMPERE, Finland — Team USA opened the 2023 IIHF Men’s World Championship with a 4-1 win over Finland on Friday afternoon.

Alex Tuch scored a pair of goals while Drew O’Connor recorded a three-point (1-2-3) game in the win. Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Casey DeSmith recorded 23 saves in the win for Team USA as the Americans defeated the host country to open pool play.

“I thought it was an important win for us against a very good team,” head coach David Quinn told USAHockey.com. “We got better as the game wore on and I’m really proud of the mental toughness we showed throughout the game.”

Team USA actually trailed 1-0 early as Teemu Hartikainen netted a power-play marker 17:03 into the opening frame. However, DeSmith was perfect from there and kept the Finns off the board.

Cutter Gauthier tied the game 13:48 into the second period, taking a Carter Mazur feed and firing a shot home from the near circle.


The Stars and Stripes looked to be building momentum as Team USA racked up 19 second-period shots. Yet the two teams remained scoreless the rest of the period and were tied after 40 minutes.

O’Connor put Team USA ahead with 10:11 left and Team USA held on from there, tacking on a pair of goals from Tuch — one of which was an empty-netter — and DeSmith, who was named the Player of the Game, was a perfect 5-for-5 in the third period.

Team USA (1-0) will face Hungary on Sunday. Sunday’s game is set for a 4:20 a.m. CDT faceoff and will be televised on NHL Network.

USA 4, Finland 1

USA 0-1-3 – 4
Finland 1-0-0 – 1

First Period
FIN: Teemu Hartikainen (Jere Sallinen, Sakari Manninen), 17:07, PP

Second Period
USA: Cutter Gauthier (Carter Mazur, Dylan Samberg), 13:48

Third Period
USA: Drew O’Connor (Dylan Samburg, Conor Garland), 9:49
USA: Alex Tuch (Rocco Grimaldi, Drew O’Connor), 12:57
USA: Alex Tuch (Drew O’Connor), 19:12, ENG

SOG: USA 9-19-10 – 38, Finland 10-9-5 – 24


Power Plays: USA 0-3, Finland 1-2

Saves: Casey DeSmith, USA, 23; Emil Larmi, Finland, 34

Attendance: 12,056

Jordan McAlpine is a junior and prospects reporter for The Rink Live.
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