U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM TOPS SWEDEN, 5-3 IN FINAL TUNE UP
/ Los Angeles Kings
STOCKHOLM, Sweden – Phil Kessel (Madison, Wis./Boston Bruins/University of Minnesota), who had a goal and two assists, was one of five different players to score in Team USA’s 5-3 victory over Sweden tonight at Globe Arena in Stockholm. The exhibition game was the U.S. Men’s National Team’s lone tune-up in preparation for the 2007 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship. The Kings' Jack Johnson was scoreless on one shot in 8:44 TOI.
Team USA will travel to Moscow, Russia, where it will face Austria in the first of three preliminary-round games at the 2007 IIHF World Championship on Friday (April 27) at 4:15 p.m. (local time)/8:15 a.m. (EDT).
“Overall I was pleased with our performance,” said Mike Sullivan, head coach of Team USA. “It was nice to generate some offense and have a chance to work on special teams at both ends of the ice. We have some areas to work on, but I was excited about the energy and enthusiasm we played with.”
Sweden notched the only goal of the first period when Jorgen Jonsson tipped a shot past U.S. netminder John Grahame (Denver, Colo./Carolina Hurricanes/Lake Superior State University) at 4: 32 of the opening frame with his team on a two-man advantage.
The United States went on to score three goals, including two power-play tallies, in the middle frame. David Backes (Minneapolis, Minn./St. Louis Blues/Minnesota State University Mankato) evened the game at 2:15 when he buried the rebound of a Kessel shot from the goalmouth. Chris Clark (South Windsor, Conn./Washington Capitals/Clarkson University) then gave Team USA a 2-1 advantage with a power-play goal off a nifty backhand feed from Paul Stastny (Quebec City, Quebec/Colorado Avalanche/University of Denver) at the 10:18 mark.
Stastny rounded out the second-period scoring with a 5-on-3 power-play tally at 17:42. After a Brian Pothier (New Bedford, Mass./Washington Capitals/Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) shot from the point deflected off Stastny’s skate, the forward gathered the puck and tapped it into an open net.
Kessel made it a 4-1 contest 1:48 into the third period when he took a feed from Lee Stempniak (West Seneca, N.Y./St. Louis Blues/Dartmouth College) in the high slot and put a low wrist shot between Sweden netminder Johan Backlund’s legs.
Sweden’s Anton Stralman made it a two-goal game at 5:13 with a slap shot that beat U.S. goaltender Cory Schneider (Marblehead, Mass./Boston College) with his team on a 5-on-3 power play.
Team USA stretched its lead to 5-2 on an Adam Hall (Kalamazoo, Mich./Minnesota Wild/Michigan State University) tally at the 12: 34 mark of the final frame. Kessel made a pass across the goalmouth to Hall, who buried a backhand shot.
Sweden wrapped up the scoring at 19:08 on another 5-on-3 power play tally as Johan Akerman’s point shot was tipped past Schneider, high to the glove side.
Grahame stopped 12-of-13 shots he faced for Team USA, while Schneider picked up the victory after he stopped 13-of-15 shots in the third period.
Team USA was 2-for-6 on the power play, while Sweden was 3-for-10 with the man advantage.
NOTES: Stastny was named Team USA’s Player of the Game . . . WCSN.com will provide live and on-demand coverage of all 56 games in the 2007 IIHF World Championship. In addition, select games, including all Team USA contests, will be 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.
Team USA’s games at the upcoming International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship will be available to viewers on Pay-Per-View through the World Championship Sports Network on DISH Network and on a subscription basis at www.wcsn.com. The U.S. Men’s National Team will compete at the 2007 IIHF World Championship in Moscow, Russia, April 27-May 13.
DISH Network’s all-inclusive package, which contains 14 total games, including all of Team USA’s contests, is $39.95. Visit www.dishnetwork.com/hockey for more information.
Fans will be able to watch all 56 games online at www.wcsn.com, where live and on-demand video of the tournament will be available for a $4.95 monthly subscription fee.