MOSCOW, Russia -- Phil Kessel (Madison, Wis./Boston Bruins/University of Minnesota) and Brandon Bochenski (Blaine, Minn./Boston Bruins/University of North Dakota) each recorded a goal and an assist, while John Grahame (Denver, Colo./Carolina Hurricanes/Lake Superior State University) made 29 saves to lead the 2007 U.S. Men’s National Team to a 4-2 victory tonight over Slovakia in the first Qualification Round game for both teams at the 2007 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship.
“We’re certainly very pleased with the win,” said Mike Sullivan, head coach of Team USA. “Slovakia came out strong and I thought John Grahame really played well early and that was key for us. The encouraging thing for our team is that we’ve been getting contributions throughout the lineup.”
Andrew Hutchinson (Evanston, Ill./Carolina Hurricanes/Michigan State University) put the United States on the scoreboard first at 8: 17 of the opening period on a blast from the blue line. David Backes (Minneapolis, Minn./St. Louis Blues/Minnesota State University Mankato) made it a 2-0 contest at 12:27 when he intercepted a pass with Team USA shorthanded and skated in on a breakaway before putting a backhander into the upper left corner of the net.
Grahame stopped 17 of 18 shots in the first period, with the lone blemish coming on a Zdeno Chara power play tally at 13:08.
Team USA scored the only two goals of the second period to make it a 4-1 game. Kessel recorded his second goal of the tournament on a shot that bounced off a Slovak defender at 4:52, followed by a Bochenski power play tally from the goalmouth at 12:37.
Slovakia’s Marian Gaborik capitalized on a breakaway after coming out of the penalty box at 11:21 to account for the only goal of the third period. Grahame made several saves down the stretch to seal the game for the United States, including a point-blank stop on Tomas Starosta with just under seven minutes left in regulation.
The United States will face off against Germany on Saturday (May 5) at 4:15 p.m. (local time)/8:15 a.m. (EDT) in the second qualification-round game for both teams.
NOTES: Ryan Suter (Madison, Wis./Nashville Predators/University of Wisconsin) was named Team USA’s Best Player of the Game . . . Eleven different players have recorded at least one goal for the United States to date in the 2007 IIHF World Championship . . . The United States has won three of its first four games at the 2007 IIHF World Championship, a feat it last accomplished at the 2002 event ... Team USA and Germany will meet for the first time in the IIHF World Championship since 2002. That year, the teams skated to a 2-2 tie in a Qualification Round game ... Lee Stempniak (West Seneca, N.Y./St. Louis Blues/Dartmouth College) is the lone United States player to have at least one point in each of Team USA’s four games to date in the IIHF World Championship. With 3-3--6, he is Team USA’s leading point-getter ... John Grahame has played in each of Team USA’s four games in the World Championship and has three wins to his credit ... Team USA has scored two shorthanded goals in the World Championship, including one in each of its last two contests ... All 56 games of the 2007 IIHF World Championship are available live and on-demand at WCSN.com. In addition, select games, including all Team USA contests, are available on DISH Network Pay-Per-View . . . Barry Smith, head coach and director of hockey operations with SKA St. Petersburg of the Russian Elite League, is serving as associate head coach of Team USA, while David Quinn, associate head coach for the Boston University men’s ice hockey team, is serving as assistant coach.
Scoring By Period
USA 2-2-0 -- 4
SVK 1-0-1 -- 2
First Period – Scoring: 1, USA, Hutchinson (Alberts, Bochenski), 8:17; 2, USA, Backes (unassisted), 12:27 (sh); 3, SVK, Chara (Satan, Uram), 13:08. Penalties: USA, Bochenski (tripping), 2:04; USA, Team (too many men), 5:30; USA, Bochenski (slashing), 11:03; SVK, Hossa (cross-checking), 19:31.
Second Period – Scoring: 4, USA, Kessel (unassisted), 4:52; 5, USA, Bochenski (Kessel, Stempniak), 12:37 (pp). Penalties: SVK, Starosta (interference), 6:47; SVK, Jurcina (roughing), 11:37.
Third Period – Scoring: 6, SVK, Gaborik (Jurcina), 11:21. Penalties: SVK, Stehlik (hooking), 1: 59; USA, Kessel (cross-checking), 4:15; SVK, Gaborik (high-sticking), 9:13; SVK, Satan, double minor (roughing), 19: 14; USA, Petersen (roughing), 19:14.
Shots By Period 1 2 3 TOTAL
USA 7 13 5 25
SVK 18 5 8 31
Goaltending (SH-SV) 1 2 3 TOTAL
USA, Grahame, 60:00 18-17 5-5 8-7 31-29
SVK, Krizan, 59:38 7-5 13-11 5-5 25-21
Power Play: USA, 1-6, SVK 0-4
Penalties: USA 5-10, SVK 7-14
Penalties: Danny Kurmann; Linesmen-Stefan Fonselius, Tobias Wehrli
Tag(s): 2007 World Championship