Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Swiss get past U.S. in worlds warm-up
KLOTEN, Switzerland -- The United States lost to Switzerland 5-2 Tuesday in their final warm-up before the ice hockey world championships.
The 16-nation world championships begin Friday. The United States opens play Saturday against Latvia in Group C, which also includes Sweden and Austria.
The U.S. team adapted well in the first period to the larger rink used in international play, taking a 2-0 lead on a two-man advantage and while short-handed.
"In the first period we showed a lot of energy and played well," United States coach Ron Wilson said. "Five minutes into the second period, our tanks were empty and the Swiss gave it to us pretty good."
The undermanned American team, which practiced once since landing in Europe, dressed only 18 players compared to 23 for the host nation.
Dustin Brown gave the Americans the lead at 8:17 of the first period, taking advantage of space in the Swiss defense to guide a shot into the unguarded net. The Los Angeles Kings captain then scored at 14:30 with teammates Colin Wilson and Drew Stafford in the penalty box.
Brown intercepted a pass in the neutral zone and slammed a right-hand shot from the point past Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Martin Gerber.
Switzerland captain Mark Streit, a New York Islanders defender, scored on a slap shot at 8:25 of the second period, and Mathias Seger tied the game at 13:44 following a three-on-two break.
Al Montoya had replaced Robert Esche guarding the U.S. goal when the score was 2-1, but was beaten three times early in the third period.
Canada-born Ryan Gardner, who recently acquired a Swiss passport, twice pounced on rebounds from Montoya saves. U.S. defenseman Matt Niskanen diverted an aimless pass across the visitors' defense into his own net with a skate.
Host Switzerland opens Friday night against France in Bern. Russia and Germany are also in Group B.