Winnipeg Jets defenseman Andrew Copp scored the game-winner with 3:22 left as the U.S. National team overcame two two-goal deficits to defeat Latvia, 5-3, in Cologne, Germany, as group play continued in the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship. The Americans will face Slovakia today (10:15 a.m., NHLN).
The U.S. trailed, 2-0, before J.T. Compher, a one-time Buffalo Sabres prospect, deflected a shot by Anders Lee at 9:00 of the second period. Latvia again went in front by two goals before Nick Bjugstad buried a rebound of a shot by Nick Schmaltz. Johnny Gaudreau tied the game with 1:23 left in the second period for his fourth goal of the tournament. An empty-net goal by Dylan Larkin made it 5-3 with 1:02 left.
"We certainly didn’t have the start we wanted," said Jeff Blashill, coach of the U.S. Team. "Our guys stayed with it though and didn’t panic. I thought Copp, Compher and Bjugstad got us back in the game and gave us some life."
Jack Eichel of the Buffalo Sabres played 16 minutes, 51 seconds skating on a first line with Gaudreau and Lee. He was credited with one shot on goal.
U.S. goalie Connor Hellebuyck had 20 saves.
The Sabres’ Zemgus Girgensons had 17:55 of ice time for Latvia with no shots on goal.
The big news of the day was Switzerland’s 3-2 upset of Canada on Fabrice Herzog’s goal at 3:40 of overtime. He beat Canadian goalie Calvin Pickard over the right shoulder with a backhander after pushing the puck past defenseman Chris Lee. It was Herzog’s second goal of the game. Vincent Praplan had a goal and an assist as Canada’s streak of four regulation wins ended. Ryan O’Reilly of the Sabres and Mitch Marner scored for Canada.
Markus Hannikainen scored at 1:55 of overtime to give Finland a 3-2 win over Norway. Undefeated Russia scored three first period goals in a 6-0 triumph over Slovakia. Yevgeni Dadonov had two first-period goals for the Russians.
Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers joined the German team and assisted on Christian Ehrhoff’s opening goal of a 4-1 triumph over Italy. Belarus defeated Slovenia, 5-2.