HALIFAX, Nova Scotia - The U.S. Men's National Team jumped out to a 3-0 lead less than three minutes into the game and went on to a 6-4 victory over Germany here tonight in the first qualifying-round game for both teams at the 72nd annual International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship. Patrick O'Sullivan tallied a goal and Dustin Brown
added his team-leading fourth goal to extend their point streaks to four games each.
"Overall, I thought we played pretty well," said John Tortorella, head coach of Team USA. "I give Germany a lot of credit. They kept coming at us and never gave up. It was certainly an important win for our hockey team."
The U.S. stormed to a 1-0 lead just 26 seconds into the game. Zach Parise (Minneapolis, Minn./New Jersey Devils/University of North Dakota) was on the receiving end of a Jason Pominville (Buffalo, N.Y./Buffalo Sabres) pass and beat German netminder Dimitrji Patzold from 10 feet out between the circles to the stick side. Patrick O'Sullivan (Winston-Salem, N.C./L.A. Kings) made it 2-0 at 2:10 when he scored on a backhander from the bottom of the right circle. Just 42 seconds later, James Wisniewski (Canton, Mich./Chicago Blackhawks) gained control of the puck after it bounced off his skate and then put a backhanded shot past Patzold from close range. The Germans did not quit, however, and received goals from Michael Hackert at 16:04 and Christopher Schmidt on the power play at 17:52 to close the gap to 3-2 after 20 minutes.
The teams traded second period goals. Pominville scored on a two-man advantage from just above the goal line off the rebound of Patrick Kane's (Buffalo, N.Y./Chicago Blackhawks) slap shot from the left circle at 6:52 to give the U.S. a 4-2 lead. Florian Busch put Germany back to within a goal when he tucked the puck in from the side of the net with U.S. netminder Craig Anderson (Park Ridge, Ill./Florida Panthers) down and out.
Germany tied the game at 4:55 of the third on a goal off the stick of Michael Bakos. Parise accounted for the game-winner with a power-play marker at 11:04 when his shot from the bottom of the right circle went off the pad of Patzold, then off the post and in. Paul Martin (Minneapolis, Minn./New Jersey Devils/University of Minnesota) and Kane assisted on the goal. Dustin Brown (Ithaca, N.Y./L.A. Kings) sealed the victory with an empty-net tally at 18:24.
Anderson played the first 44:55 and made six saves on ten shots. Robert Esche (Utica, N.Y.) went the final 15:05 and stopped all five shots he faced.
The U.S. Men's National Team will return to action on Sunday (May 11) against Finland in its second game of the qualification round.
NOTES: Germany's first-period power-play goal was the first power-play goal yielded in the World Championship by Team USA. In its first three games of the event, the Americans killed off all 12 opponent power plays ... Patrick O'Sullivan, Dustin Brown and Patrick Kane each extended their point streaks to four games. They are the three U.S. players that have registered at least one point in all four of Team USA's games at the World Championship to date ... A total of 12 different U.S. players tallied at least one point in the game ... Team USA outshot Germany, 42-15 ... All 56 games from the 2008 IIHF Men's World Championship will be broadcast live on WCSN.com . The 2008 U.S. Men's National Team is under the direction of Jim Johannson, USA Hockey's assistant executive director of hockey operations, and a four-member advisory group, including NHL general managers Brian Burke (Anaheim), David Poile (Nashville), Ray Shero (Pittsburgh) and Don Waddell (Atlanta). Tony Rossi, vice president of USA Hockey and its international council chair, oversees all aspects of international competition for USA Hockey.