The United States has finished on top of Group A in the men's Olympic hockey preliminary round, earning a bye to the quarterfinal thanks to a 3-2 win over Germany.
The win gave USA a perfect 3-0 record in the round robin thanks to wins over China, Canada and the Germans. They'll skip the qualification round and automatically earn a berth in the quarterfinal round, giving them a bit of rest until the round of eight begins on Wednesday.
The game didn't start in USA's favor, though. While on the man advantage, Patrick Hager scored on the power-play after directing Mathias Plachta's feed past Drew Commesso at the 2:00 mark of the contest.
But from there, the Americans took over. Steven Kampfer's power-play goal at 4:26 soared past traffic and over Danny aus den Birken's blocker to tie things up. Just over a full 20 minutes of game action later, the Americans scored an important second goal to take the lead.
A rare piece of history took place in the third. Nathan Smith became the first Florida-born player to score for USA in Olympic competition, beating aus den Birken five-hole after a bad giveaway by the Germans in front of the crease. Tom Kuhnhackl made the end of the game a bit more interesting with a late goal, but an empty-net push wouldn't result in anything further and USA would hold for the 3-2 win.