HELSINKI, Finland - Kyle Okposo (St. Paul, Minn./New York Islanders/Univ. of Minnesota) scored twice and Max Pacioretty (New Canaan, Conn./Montreal Canadiens/Univ. of Michigan) tallied a goal and two assists as the U.S. Men's National Team defeated France, 7-2, here today at Hartwall Arena in the opening game of the 2012 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's World Championship.
"It's obviously good to open with a win," said Scott Gordon, head coach of the U.S. Men's National Team. "It was a much closer game than the final score indicated. I like what I've seen from our team so far, both in the two games we've played and in practice."
France opened the scoring at 12:17 of the first period, but Okposo scored on a breakaway 4:35 later to tie the game.Alex Goligoski (Grand Rapids, Minn./Dallas Stars/Univ. of Minnesota) hit Okposo in stride through the neutral zone to create the scoring chance.
The U.S. took its first lead of the game at 3:56 of the second period when captain Jack Johnson (Ann Arbor, Mich./Columbus Blue Jackets/Univ. of Michigan) ripped a one-timer from the center point while on the power play past France netminder Cristobal Huet.Ryan Lasch (Lake Forest, Calif./Lahti Pelicans/St. Cloud State Univ.) andJustin Faulk (South St. Paul, Minn./Carolina Hurricanes/Univ. of Minnesota Duluth) assisted on the play.
On the power play once again, the U.S. extended its lead to 3-1 on a goal byBobby Ryan (Cherry Hill, N.J./Anaheim Ducks). Pacioretty fed the puck from the left corner into the crease, where Ryan one-touched it between the legs of the Huet at 9:15.
Following a French goal at 13:17 that made it 3-2, Team USA reestablished a two-goal advantage with just 22 seconds left in the middle stanza when Pacioretty redirected a Goligoski's wrist shot from the left point.
Team USA put the game away in the third period by scoring three times. Jim Slater(Lapeer, Mich./Winnipeg Jets/Michigan State Univ.) converted a two-on-one thanks to a feed from Kyle Palmieri (Smithtown, N.Y./Anaheim Ducks/Univ. of Notre Dame) at 5:38. Okposo scored into the upper corner of the net on a sharp-angle shot at 11:00 and Jeff Petry (Ann Arbor, Mich./Edmonton Oilers/Michigan State Univ.) ended the scoring at 17:41 during a delayed penalty against France.
Jimmy Howard (Syracuse, N.Y./Detroit Red Wings/Univ. of Maine) picked up the win in the U.S. net with 21 saves. Paul Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./Colorado Avalanche/Univ. of Denver) and Faulk each had three assists.
The U.S. Men's National Team continues Group H play tomorrow (May 5) against Canada. Faceoff is 7 p.m. local time (noon ET). The NBC Sports Network will air the game same-day delay at 7:30 p.m. ET.
NOTES: USA improved to 7-1-0 against France in the IIHF Men's World Championship ... Team USA went 2-for-6 on the power play, scored on a delayed penalty and killed all three France power plays ... Max Pacorietty, with a goal and two assists, was named Team USA's Player of the Game ... A total of 12 players, including five defensemen, contributed points in the contest ... Defenseman Jack Johnson was named team captain on May 3. The alternate captains are forwards Jim Slater and Nate Thompson ... Twenty of the 23 members of Team USA played U.S. college hockey ... Six of the 23 players announced are products of USA Hockey's National Team Development Program, including Joey Crabb, Justin Faulk, Cam Fowler, Jimmy Howard, Jack Johnson and Kyle Palmieri ... Fourteen NHL teams are represented on the roster. The Anaheim Ducks have three representatives, while the Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning have two players apiece ... Scott Gordon is the head coach of the 2012 U.S. Men's National Team. Greg Cronin and David Quinn are serving as assistant coaches ... The 2012 U.S. Men’s National Team is under the direction of the U.S. Men’s National Team Advisory Group, led by Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey. Other members include NHL general managers Stan Bowman (Chicago), Brian Burke (Toronto), Paul Holmgren (Philadelphia), Dean Lombardi (Los Angeles), David Poile (Nashville), Ray Shero (Pittsburgh) and Dale Tallon (Florida) and Pittsburgh Penguins pro scout Don Waddell ... USA Hockey's international council, chaired by Tony Rossi, vice president of USA Hockey, has oversight responsibilities for all U.S. national teams ... Sixteen teams will compete at 2012 IIHF Men's World Championship. There will be two groups of eight with one group playing in Helsinki, Finland, and the other playing in Stockholm, Sweden. The semifinals and medal games will be conducted in Helsinski ... NBC Sports will televise all Team USA games in the 2012 IIHF Men's World Championship.
Scoring By Period
USA 1 3 3 7
France 1 1 0 2
First Period – Scoring: 1, FRA, Besch (Meunier, Auvitu), 12:17; 2, USA, Okposo (Goligoski, Faulk), 16:52. Penalties: FRA, Roussel (interference), 4:38; FRA, da Costa (tripping), 7:41; USA, Crabb (roughing), 17:53.
Second Period – Scoring: 3, USA, Johnson (Lasch, Faulk), 3:56, (pp); 4, USA, Ryan (Pacioretty, Stastny), 9:15, (pp); 5, FRA, Bellemare (Treille), 13:17; 6, USA, Pacioretty (Goligoski, Stastny), 19:38. Penalties: FRA, Guttig (hooking), 2:59; FRA, Rouleau (interference), 5:12; FRA, da Costa (holding), 7:58; USA, Palmieri (slashing), 11:00.
Third Period – Scoring: 7, USA, Slater (Palmieri), 5:38; 8, USA, Okposo (Fowler, Faulk), 11:00; 9, USA, Petry (Pacioretty, Stastny), 17:41. Penalties: FRA, Treille (holding), 6:54; USA, Palmieri (hooking), 14:56.
Shots by Period 1 2 3 Total
USA 11 16 8 35
France 8 8 7 23
Goaltenders (SH/SV) 1 2 3 Total
USA, Howard, 60:00 8/7 8/7 7/7 23/21
FRA, Huet, 60:00 11/10 16/13 8/5 35/28
Power Play: USA 2-6; FRA 0-3
Penalties: USA 3-6; FRA 6-12
Tag(s): 2012 World Championship