Final, USA 2, Switzerland 0: That's it. The U.S. escaped (in every sense of the word) with a victory. This game had all the makings of the one that a goalie could steal, and Jonas Hiller did all he could to make that happen. Yet his offense just couldn't get it done against Ryan Miller and the U.S. defense.
Good shots were either saved by Miller or blocked by skaters, and somehow, the one American goal was enough.
The U.S. will have a couple of days to catch its collective breath, awaiting the winner of the Finland-Czech Republic game. The winner of that game will play the U.S. on Friday at 3 p.m. ET (click here to see bracket).
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Third period, 11.2, 2-0 USA: In the win over Canada, the U.S. needed Ryan Miller to come up huge in the final minutes. This time, the skaters took care of their goalie.
The Swiss couldn't generate a good opportunity, and Parise knocked the puck out of the zone, chased it down and scored in the empty net.
Third period, 11.2, 2-0 USA: Zach Parise nets the empty-net goal, and the United States can take a collective sigh of relief.
Third period, 1:06, 1-0 USA: Icing on the U.S.
Third period, 1:43, 1-0 USA: The Swiss net is empty.
Third period, 1:43, 1-0 USA: Paul Stastny blatantly trips Roman Wick. No call. That's a break for the U.S., but the Swiss still have 1:43 to put an all-out attack on Ryan Miller.
The U.S. faced a similar situation on Sunday, and it emerged victorious.
Third period, 4:55, 1-0 USA: Joe Pavelski streaks up the middle after taking a feed from Ryan Malone, but Hiller, for the 42nd time, makes the stop.
Third period, 5:10, 1-0 USA: Play. Your. Game.
Third period, 6:24, 1-0 USA: Ryan Suter turns the puck over in his own end, but it doesn't prove costly.
Third period, 7:18, 1-0 USA: Ryan Miller makes a glove save on a missile off the stick of Sbisa. That's one that could be remembered at the end of the game.
Third period, 7:40, 1-0 USA: There's another blocked shot by David Backes.
Third period, 9:37, 1-0 USA: The countdown is on, but the U.S. would not mind the least bit to get a bit of insurance here. That is, of course, much easier said than done.
Third period, 10:45, 1-0 USA: Ten minutes left in the game. Can you hear Herb Brooks saying, "Play. Your. Game."?
Third period, 13:50, 1-0 USA: If the U.S. goes on to win this game, the star will be Ryan Miller, but the unsung heroes will be all the shot blockers. Chris Drury is the latest to stop a bomb, his fifth of the game.
It helped kill off another penalty. The shot total is at 36 for the U.S., 14 for Switzerland.
Third period, 15:53, 1-0 USA: I stand corrected. The Swiss did not in fact score. In live action, it looked like a sure goal, but the replay proved otherwise.
So now Switzerland is on the power play, and that penalty on Kesler took a goal off the board for the U.S.
Third period, 15:53, 1-0 USA: OK, these are the two events that just happened:
1. Switzerland scored, but it was ruled no-goal.
2. The U.S. scored on the ensuing possession, but that was waived off due to a penalty on Ryan Kesler.
We're awaiting official word now.
Third period, 16:14, 1-0 USA: As it stands now, it's 1-0, but it looked like the Swiss just scored. Play will be reviewed at the next whistle.
Third period, 16:53, 1-0 USA: Bobby Ryan breaks free with a nice one-handed move, but Hiller stops him on the shot attempt. It looks like Hiller's not fazed by the goal.
Third period, 17:52, 1-0 USA: Zach Parise scores.
Parise's been the player with perhaps the most chances all game, so it's fitting he gets the U.S. on the board.
Parise called for a shot from the point by Brian Rafalski (who's unexpectedly been a points machine for this team), and he gets just that. The tip flipped up and over Hiller's shoulder and slowly slipped across the goal line, and the Americans are on the board.
Thid period, 0-0, 18:24: Phil Kessel gets a puck in his skates in the crease, but gets tripped. The U.S., which has had an awful power play thus far, gets another chance on the advantage.
Third period, 0-0, 19:22: The U.S. open the period with another pair of chances, but well, yeah, you guessed it. No goal.
Second intermission, 0-0: It's been almost 10 minutes since the U.S. scored one-tenth of a second too late, and it's still hard to believe. How the Americans respond will decide the game.
Second intermission, 0-0: The late non-goal has to be deflating for the Americans, but then again, the entirety of the game thus far could be classified the same way.
Watching from afar, Jonas Hiller has been incredibly impressive. For the Americans on the ice, it has to be completely maddening.
Hiller's stopped all 32 American shots, and there really is no other storyline at this point. The Swiss had some chances and Ryan Miller has been on top of his game, but the story here is that the Americans can't score.
Second intermission, 0-0: That could literally not have been any closer, but it is no goal.
The puck thrown on net was juggled by Hiller, who eventually knocked it into the net.
The overhead replay, though, shows the puck was exactly at the goal line as the clock ticked to 0.0. There is no way to describe this in a believable fashion. After struggling for 40 minutes, the Americans were one-tenth of a second too late.
Second period, 0-0, 0:00: Zeroes all around, though the U.S. put the puck into the net.
Officials are reviewing if it beat the clock.
Second period, 0-0, 2:01: Hiller's save tally is up to 30.
Second period, 0-0, 3:23: The Americans get a handful of solid chances, but (excuse the broken record), Hiller stands tall.
The U.S. has had a ton of chances, but that's no longer going to cut it. The 27-8 shot advantage has yielded the Americans exactly nothing to this point. A goal from either team before the intermission would go a long, long way.
Second period, 0-0, 5:03: As if the American power play didn't look bad enough, Bobby Ryan gets flipped head-over-heels at the blue line.
Second period, 0-0, 6:28: Erik Johnson saves the day for the U.S., laying down prone on the ice to break up a pass on a 3-on-1. It almost assuredly saved a goal.
The U.S., after completing another fruitless power play, gets another chance, as Domenichelli was called for another penalty.
Second period, 0-0, 8:41: Oh my goodness. Jonas Hiller is getting better and better. With Jamie Langenbrunner falling to the ice, he flips the puck high on Hiller, but the goalie gets just enough of the puck to turn it away.
The U.S. is going on a power play thanks to a Hnat Domenichelli trip.
Second period, 0-0, 10:00: Good news for the U.S.: Ryan Miller has been excellent when called upon. Bad news? They've needed him to be.
The U.S. simply can't afford to keep the Swiss a goal away from a lead. Hiller's been unbelievable, but this offense has too much skill to allow anyone to keep off the scoreboard for this long.
Second period, 0-0, 10:30: Miller gets his first action in a whiles he turns away a funky shot from Sprunger.
The shot advantage is now 22-7 in favor of the U.S.
Second period, 0-0, 11:44: The Americans conclude a truly dreadful power play, as they were unable to possess the puck at all in the offensive end. The Swiss set up along their defensive blue line and didn't allow the Americans into the zone.
Second period, 0-0, 13:54: Is this the break the U.S. needed? Raffaele Sannitz heads to the box, and the U.S. has its first power play of the afternoon.
Second period, 0-0, 14:00: This game is one unfortunate bounce away from turning quickly on the Americans.
Second period, 0-0, 14:45: Chris Drury lays out on the ice to break up a pass, showing the little things he's been praised for by Brian Burke and others this winter.
The Swiss power play is over, and they've still yet to register a shot on net this period.
Second period, 0-0, 17:20: Kessel creates another chance, as his shot is stopped by Hiller initially but squirts free in the crease. Hiller then turns it aside. Moments later, Joe Pavelski looked to have an open net, but the puck was cleared out just before he could get it.
Seconds later, Ryan Malone goes to the box for roughing. Power play No. 2 for the Swiss.
Second period, 0-0, 18:30: Sbisa is back on the ice for a shift, and he's welcomed with a big hit along the boards. Nobody said this game was for the weak-willed.
Second period, 0-0, 19:41: The second period is under way.
End of first period, 0-0: Two words can sum up the first period, and two words only: Jonas Hiller.
The 28-year-old already has 18 saves, which seem to get more impressive with each one.
Fortunately for the U.S., Ryan Miller has also been perfect, but he has only had to face four shots. In fact, the Swiss went somewhere between 6-10 minutes without a shot to close the period.
First period, 34.3: In a period in which Jonas Hiller has made some great saves, this one might have been the best. With Jamie Langenbrunner sliding through his crease, Hiller turns aside a Parise shot with the blocker. That's save No. 17.
First period, 2:55: Phil Kessel busts out a beautiful offensive move and fires a snapper on net. It rings off the post and heads to the boards. Hiller even has his post game working for him.
First period, 3:50: The Swiss get called for another icing. There have been about four or five combined thus far.
Off the ensuing faceoff, Patrick Kane carries the puck on his backhand toward the circle from behind the net, but his backhand bid gets swallowed by Hiller. No score.
First period, 6:18: The U.S. is outshooting Switzerland 14-4, but the Swiss' opportunities have been pretty good. We've learned over the past week that this Swiss team can stick around with the best of them.
First period, 8:38: There's that Kessel-Malone-Pavelski line again, this time creating a couple of big opportunities. Again, Hiller was all over it. He has 12 saves already.
First period, 11:00: That was some serious end-to-end action. Parise finds himself wide open in the slot thanks to a Hiller turnover, but Hiller made up for it with a big stop. Down the other end, Thomas Deruns flips a loose puck on the doorstep over the crossbar. Still scoreless midway through a period.
First period, 12:28: It should be noted that, as anticipated, a lot of the locals have become staunch supporters of the Swiss squad. I don't think the Americans will have any problems with a hostile environment though.
First period, 13:35: Ryan Callahan hooks Julien Sprunger and the Swiss go on the man advantage. The PK is going to have to go to work right now. The last thing the U.S. wants to do is give a tired Swiss team some momentum.
First period, 13:45: Luca Sbisa has headed to the locker room after taking a slapshot off his hand.
First period, 14:10: The Kessel-Malone-Pavelski line has some of that flash it showed two games ago against Norway. The trio wasn't a big factor in the Canada game, so getting them back is a big plus for the U.S.
First period, 16:28: The Swiss have responded in a big way to the American outburst to start the game. They've made a couple of rushes up the ice, but Ryan Miller made a pair of big stops.
First period, 17:41: Ryan Malone has about 45 minutes to set up in the offensive zone, but Hiller is up to the task. It seems clear that if Switzerland is going to win this game, Hiller will need to make at least 50 saves.
First period, 18:13: Jonas Hiller came ready to play. He stops a blast from the point and is in perfect position to turn away the follow-up attempt by Ryan Kesler.
U.S. holds an early 5-0 shot advantage.
First period, 18:39: Jack Johnson and Brooks Orpik make a couple of mistakes in their defensive end, but it doesn't cost the U.S. as the Swiss can't muster a shot.
First period, 19:48: The game is under way and off to a fast start, with the U.S. winning the opening draw. Zach Parise tried to jam a puck past Jonas Hiller right off the bat, but the goalie was able to freeze the puck.
3:07 p.m.: Having Doc Emerick come on the TV every couple of days for hours at a time has been a true luxury over the past week. It's going to be tough to readjust to regular life once the tournament is over.
3:05 p.m.: The U.S. is back in its navy blue uniforms. Funny, I don't remember the flag being that dark.
It's just a shame the team can't wear those 1960 replicas every day. Those things are true beauties.
3:02 p.m.: Minutes away from the puck dropping in Vancouver, and … wait … Al Michaels is involved in the broadcast? NBC is bringing out the big guns for this one.
2:35 p.m.: With a massive win over Canada under their belts, you'd think the Americans would be satisfied. Yet GM Brian Burke is anything but.
"I'm not happy with the way we've played to this point," Burke told USA Hockey. “We need all hands on deck. We have 10 guys carrying us, in my opinion."
Ryan Miller seemed to understand the intention of the comment.
"I think Burke wants to keep us where we need to be, which is appropriately paranoid," Miller said.
He's right. As big as Sunday's win was for the confidence of this young American team, it hasn't earned them a medal yet.
1:05 p.m.: With about two hours before the game starts, here are some things to watch for:
Things you will see
It's hard to imagine he could be doing any better than he is.
They've had a day of rest, and the Swiss had for some extra time on Tuesday. There's no reason the U.S. should be outskated for one shift.
Things you might see
He's done it before in this tournament, helping the Swiss push the Canadians to a shootout.
Things you won't see
You can bet there won't be a lot of love for the Americans in Vancouver, not with the way they disposed of the Canadians on Sunday night. Chances are there will be a lot of temporary Swiss fans in the building.
11:41 a.m.: It's Wednesday, which means the U.S. win over Canada from Sunday means nothing anymore. For this confident U.S. squad, it's win or go home.
Of course, the American's next game is against a Switzerland team that needed extra time on Tuesday to beat Belarus in a shootout, but if Tuesday's slate of near-upsets taught us anything, it's that no favorite is safe.
Check back on the live blog leading up the game, which starts at 3 p.m. ET, and right through the final horn.
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