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USA earns first win of Games

NHL.com @NHL

TURIN, Italy (AP) - The United States hockey team found just what it needed to get going in the Olympics. A good night's rest and a game against Kazakhstan.

Rick DiPietro, in his debut, stopped 11 shots Thursday night in a 4-1 victory. The United States (1-1) used three first-period goals to move into second place in Group B with three points, behind Slovakia - the Americans' next opponent and the only 2-0 team in the six-squad bunch.

It didn't take long for the U.S. to shake off any remaining jet lag and the disappointment of its 3-3 tie with Latvia in Wednesday's opener. The Americans quickly established dominance over a team that fielded only two NHL players.

Anything but a victory would have made the chances of advancing to the quarterfinals near impossible as the Americans still have their three toughest matchups ahead of them in a four-day span beginning Saturday.

Kazakhstan, outshot 36-12, has been outscored 11-3 in its two losses.

The Americans peppered goaltender Vitaly Kolesnik, who has been in the minor leagues since a seven-game stint with Colorado in December. He faced 17 shots in the first period and gave up power-play goals to Brian Rolston and Brian Gionta along with an even-strength score by Bill Guerin that made it 1-0 just 1:34 in.

Mike Modano made it 4-1 at 11:53 of the third, 51 seconds after Yevgeniy Koreshkov scored for Kazakhstan on its first third-period shot.

DiPietro turned aside five shots in the first period - only one of which came from in close as the Americans dominated.

Rolston was the fourth forward on the Americans' power-play unit, serving a role he fills with the Minnesota Wild. That also helped take the load off the U.S. defense, down to six players for the second straight game as New Jersey's Brian Rafalski sat out with an injury believed to be to his midsection.

Kazakhstan couldn't muster any kind of counterattack. Unlike Wednesday against Latvia with John Grahame in goal, the Americans didn't have to fear every mistake turning into an odd-man rush the other way.

Even when there was a breakdown, the threat was minimal. Aryom Argokov had a second-period breakaway but then shot high over the net. Later, DiPietro fell down while the puck was in his zone and still didn't have to scramble back into position.

Kazakhstan didn't register a shot in the middle period until 13:09 elapsed. By then, the shot tally was 26-6.

Guerin started the scoring with a shot from the edge of the right circle as he was falling to his knees. Rolston made it 2-0 at 8:31 when he ripped in a shot as he skated inside the blue line. Gionta netted his second in two games by tipping in John-Michael Liles' drive from the right point with 3:10 left in the first.


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