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JOHNSON, US ROUTS FRANCE

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
BERN, Switzerland - Six different players scored as the U.S. Men's National Team rolled to a 6-2 victory over France in the first qualification-round game for both teams tonight here at the 73rd annual International Ice Hockey Federation Men's World Championship.

The victory gives Team USA seven points in Group E, one behind group leader Russia.

"We really used our speed to our advantage tonight, especially in the first period," said Ron Wilson, head coach of Team USA.

Team USA dominated the opening period, outshooting France 20-3 and spending more than nine minutes on the power play. Kyle Okposo (St. Paul, Minn./N.Y. Islanders/University of Minnesota) staked the U.S. to 1-0 lead at 4:02 when he tipped the puck past Fabrice Lhenry as he was being hooked to the ice with the U.S. on the power play. With a two-man advantage, David Backes (Minneapolis, Minn./St. Louis Blues/Minnesota State University) made it 2-0 at 10:38 when he converted a nice feed in front from T.J. Oshie (Warroad, Minn./St. Louis Blues/University of North Dakota). Ryan Suter (Madison, Wis./Nashville Predators/University of Wisconsin) also drew an assist on the play.

The U.S. extended its advantage to 3-0 at 4:51 of the second period, just :13 after France's first power play of the game expired. Matt Niskanen's (Virginia, Minn./Dallas Stars/University of Minnesota Duluth) shot from the point was deflected behind the net where Backes sent it back in front to Ryan Shannon (Darien, Conn./Ottawa Senators/Boston College) who put the puck into the bottom corner of the goal. Keith Ballard (Baudette, Minn./Florida Panthers/University of Minnesota) made it 4-0 when his shot from the right point got through traffic and into the far top corner of the net at 7:29. Just 1:27 after France's Yorick Treille tipped one past Al Montoya (Chicago, Ill./Phoenix Coyotes/University of Michigan) on the power play, Patrick O'Sullivan (Winston-Salem, N.C./Edmonton Oilers) backhanded home his second rebound attempt at 9:51 to make it 5-1. The second stanza ended with a 5-2 Team USA advantage.

The U.S. scored the only goal of the third period when Jack Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind./L.A. Kings/University of Michigan) blasted a shot from the point at 9:55 with the U.S. enjoying a two-man advantage.

Montoya made 14 saves in the win, while Lhenry took the loss with 35 stops.

Team USA takes on Russia tomorrow (May 2) at 2:15 p.m. EDT in its second of three qualification-round games.

NOTES: Team USA scored its fifth and sixth five-on-three power play goals of the tournament here tonight ... Patrick O'Sullivan has scored at least one goal in each of Team USA's four games ... David Backes had a goal and two assists and was named Team USA's Player of the Game ... Team USA outshot France by a 41-16 margin ... For the schedule and rankings in each of the two six-team qualification groups, click here ...The IIHF Men's World Championship includes 16 nations, initially divided into four, four-team pools. In the preliminary round, each team plays the other three teams in its pool. The top three teams in each pool advance to the qualification round. The qualification round consists of two groups of six teams each. A team advancing to the qualification round plays three additional games against the teams it has not yet faced that are part of its new pool. The top four teams in each of the two pools from the qualification round qualification round advance to the single-elimination quarterfinal round, with the winners playing in the semifinals. The two semifinal winners play for the gold medal while the losers play for the bronze medal ... Universal Sports will provide both live streaming and television coverage of the 2009 IIHF Men's World Championship beginning with the quarterfinal round ... Click here for the Team USA roster ... Click here to download the Team USA media guide ... The 2009 U.S. Men’s National Team is under the direction of Brian Burke, general manager; David Poile, associate general manager; and Jim Johannson, assistant executive director for hockey operations at USA Hockey. The U.S. Men's National Advisory Group, which includes Burke, Paul Holmgren (Philadelphia), Johannson, Dean Lombardi (L.A. Kings), Ray Shero (Pittsburgh) and Don Waddell (Atlanta), is charged with leading the selection of players for the U.S. Men's National Team. Tony Rossi, vice president of USA Hockey and its international council chair, oversees all aspects of international competition for USA Hockey … Ron Wilson, head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, is the head coach of the 2009 U.S. Men’s National Team and the 2010 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team. Scott Gordon, head coach of the New York Islanders, and Joe Sacco, head coach of the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League, are the assistant coaches for the 2009 U.S. Men's National Team.

GAME SUMMARY
Scoring By Period
USA 2 - 3- 1 - 6
FRA 0 - 2- 0- 2

First Period - Scoring: 1, USA, Okposo (Backes) , 4:02 (pp); 2, USA, Backes (Oshie, Suter), 10:38 (5x3 pp). Penalties: FRA, Zwikel (hooking), 3:12; FRA, Mille (hooking), 5:28; FRA, Manavian (interference), 8:54; FRA, Roussel (tripping), 9:36; FRA, Quessandier (slashing), 15:49; FRA, Quessandier (game misconduct), 15:49.

Second Period - Scoring: 3, USA, Shannon (Backes, Niskanen), 4:51; 4, USA, Ballard (Okposo, Bogosian), 7:29; 5, FRA, Treille (Zwikel, Meunier), 9:41 (pp); 6, USA, O'Sullivan (Brown), 10:31; 7, FRA, Bellemare (Meunier, Lhenry), 11:47 (pp). Penalties: USA, Shannon (interference), 2:38; USA, Stafford (slashing), 8:24; USA, Stafford (tripping), 11:03.

Third Period - Scoring: 8, USA, Johnson (Liles, Brown), 9:55 (5x3 pp). Penalties: USA, Blake (interference), 1:55; FRA, Bellemare (tripping), 8:32; FRA, Bachet (hooking), 8:59; USA, Brown (tripping), 12:57; FRA, Hecquefeuille (tripping), 19:03.

Shots by Period
USA: 20-13-8-41
FRA: 3-7-6-16

Goaltenders
USA: Montoya 60:00, 14-of-16
FRA: Lhenry 60:00, 35-of-41

Power Play:

USA 3-8
FRA 2-5

Penalties:
USA 5-10
FRA 9-39
Referees: Ole Hansen (NOR) Sami Partanen (FIN);
Linesmen: Christian Kaspar (AUT), Daniel Wirth (SUI)
Attendance: 4,213

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