U.S. remains undefeated with win

Updated: December 30, 2010, 10:38 PM ET
Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Jack Campbell has perhaps never been happier about not getting full credit for a shutout.

The U.S. goalie made 14 saves before being replaced by Andy Iles with nine minutes left in a 4-0 victory over Germany in preliminary-round play Thursday night in the World Junior Hockey Championships. Iles didn't face a shot as a stout U.S. defense kept its comfortable lead intact in a scoreless third period.

Campbell was en route to his seventh shutout in international play and his second in the junior tournament when he came out with 9:02 to play. He remained on the bench as Iles saw his first action of the tournament.

"Everything's all right," Campbell said. "It was to give Andy a chance. He's been working hard and he deserves to play. To share [the shutout] with such a great teammate, I couldn't ask for anything more."

Jon Merrill had a goal and an assist for the Americans, while Charlie Coyle and Chris Kreider added power-play goals and Jerry D'Amigo an even-strength tally.

"This isn't about individual stats," U.S. coach Keith Allain said. "Jack would probably be the first one to tell you that. It was good for the team for Andy to get some live action."

The U.S. (3-0) remained undefeated with one game remaining in the preliminary round. The Americans will face Switzerland (2-1) on Friday night in a game that could decide the winner of Group A and an automatic bid in the semifinals. Germany finished 0-4 in the preliminary round.

German goalie Niklas Treutle stopped 44 shots, including 21 in the first period during which the U.S. took a 2-0 lead.

The U.S. is first in Group A with eight points, while Switzerland has six after its 6-4 win over Slovakia earlier Thursday. Finland (2-1) has seven points and will play Slovakia (1-2) on Friday afternoon. Teams earn three points for regulation wins and two for overtime or shootout victories.

In other tournament action Thursday, Sweden (3-0) had a 6-3 win over the Czech Republic (1-2) to set up a Group B-deciding matchup against Canada (3-0) on Friday. Russia (1-2) also won, 8-2 over Norway (0-3).

The U.S. scored on back-to-back shots in a 48-second span in the first. Coyle drove to the net and wristed in a shot with 7:23 left, and D'Amigo then notched an even-strength goal on a wrist shot after he corralled a loose puck along the left boards.

The flurry gave Allain a sense of relief.

"You're always worried about when that goal's going to come," he said. "We've all seen enough in tournaments in the past where teams can control a game and are unable to score. It was very, very important for us to get not just one but that quick second one too."

In the second period, Merrill scored on a wrist shot from the high slot eight minutes in, and Kreider scored on a one-timer from the slot five minutes later.

The U.S. improved to 17-4 against Germany in the event. Now the team looks for a win Friday that would ensure an easier path than last year, when the U.S. won the gold medal but only after having to win a quarterfinal game.

"Each game we have different challenges we set out for ourselves," said Campbell, who played in three games in the tournament last season. "We wanted to do a couple of things to get ready for Switzerland. Our coaches were really happy with how we played and we're just trying to get better with each game."


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press