Team USA Edges Germany To Earn Bye Into Olympic Ice Hockey Quarterfinals

by Scott Charles

Brock Faber during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A match between Team United States and Team Germany at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on Feb. 13, 2022 in Beijing, China.


The United States men’s ice hockey team clinched the top spot in Group A and a bye into the quarterfinal round of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 with a 3-2 win against Germany Sunday. 

Steven Kampfer, Matt Knies, and Nathan Smith scored as Team USA remains undefeated in pool play. Drew Commesso made 24 saves in his second start of the tournament. 

“We’ve really become a team in a short period of time,” coach David Quinn said. “You can feel it in the locker room, you can feel it around the village. These guys genuinely like each other and care for each other. I got to give a ton of credit to our older players. They really embraced the responsibility. It’s a really good mix and a great group to be around.”

Patrick Hager and Tom Kuhnhackl scored for Germany and Danny aus den Birken made 29 saves for the defending silver medalists. 

Kuhnhackl, a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins, pulled Germany to within one at 17:31 of the third period. The U.S. made one final defensive stop after icing the puck with under 20 seconds remaining and Brian O’Neil had a key shot block as the Americans improved to 3-0-0-0. 

Smith scored the game-deciding goal when his backhand shot skidded past the German goaltender at 2:47 of the third period. Nick Abruzzese’s aggressive forecheck forced a turnover in the offensive zone that Smith was able to take advantage of.



“I think we can clean up our D-zone a little bit. There’s a bunch of different improvements that we would always like to get better at, obviously we are not going to be perfect,” Smith said. “Playing fast, being hard on pucks. ...If we do all that we should give ourselves a good chance. … It’s only going to get harder from here.”

For the second straight game, Team USA surrendered the opening goal in the early portion of the first period but responded quickly. 

Kampfer notched his first power-play goal of the Olympics to even the score 2:26 after Germany took a one-goal lead with a goal on the man-advantage. The alternate captain blasted a slap shot from the point that sailed past the German netminder while O’Neil was stationed at the top of the crease to provide a screen. Andy Miele also picked up an assist on the game-tying goal. 

“I thought we had an edge to us, we were hard on pucks,” Quinn said. “I thought we answered the bell tonight in a lot of ways."



The United States took a one-goal lead early in the second period when Knies roofed a loose puck from the top of the crease at 4:50. Knies was the beneficiary of Abruzzese’s hard work as he attempted a wraparound before the puck slid onto Knies’ stick. 

“That is definitely the identity of our team,” Nick Abruzzese said of the team’s relentless forecheck. “We try to play fast, hound other teams’ [defense] and make their lives miserable. We had a couple of good shifts where we were playing in the offensive zone and getting second opportunities because we were hounding pucks.”



Sunday marked the first time the U.S. played against Germany in the Olympics since a quarterfinal matchup in 2002 when Team USA won 5-0. 

Defenseman Jake Sanderson sustained an injury against Canada and did not dress for the U.S. He is considered day-to-day. 

Sam Hentges made his Olympic debut and Marc McLaughlin was scratched for the U.S. 

Team USA earned the No. 1 overall seed and will meet the winner of Germany vs. Slovakia in their next game. Puck drop is set for 11:10 p.m. ET.

Want to follow Team USA athletes during the Olympic Games Beijing 2022? Visit to view the competition schedule, medal table and results.


Scott Charles is a sportswriter whose work has been featured in the Associated Press, various NBC platforms and Yahoo! Sports among other places. He is a freelance contributor to and you can follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.
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