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Roussel, France Fall Short Against Sweden

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

There was no upset for Antoine Roussel and France at the World Championship in Belarus on Thursday as they fell, 2-1, to undefeated Sweden.

But France came close to forcing overtime in the final seconds when Damien Fleury broke in on net and was stopped by Swedish goaltender Anders Nilsson. Fleury was hooked on the play and France was hoping for a penalty shot, but the referee just handed out a minor at the end of regulation.

“It was a tight game. We created many chances. I think they had some luck in the second period,” Roussel told Swedish media after the game.

Roussel, who hit a crossbar earlier in the game, finished with no points and two shots on goal in 16:46 of ice time. He picked up his first penalty of the tournament, a 10-minute misconduct late in the second.

Roussel has three points (two goals, one assist) in four games at the tournament.

Sweden scored twice in 17 seconds in the second period to take a 2-0 lead. France scored early in the third to cut the lead in half.

France has won two of four games at the tournament and sits in fifth place in Group A, one point out of the final playoff spot. France takes on fourth-place Norway Saturday.

Thomas, USA fall to Latvia

Stars goaltender Tim Thomas and Team USA lost its second straight game, falling 6-5 to Latvia on Thursday. It was the first time Latvia had defeated the USA in the tournament since 2001.

Thomas, who was making his fourth straight start for the Americans, allowed six goals on 25 shots, but Team USA defenseman Seth Jones said Thomas was facing too many quality chances. The USA has given up 12 goals over the last two games.

“Six goals is just too many,” Jones told the IIHF web site. “We have to help Tim better than we did today. … We are doing a lot of good things but have to tighten up defensively, both forwards and defensemen. We can’t let teams get too close to the net.”

Thomas is 2-2-0 in the tournament with a 4.01 goals against average and .844 save percentage.

The USA, which has won two of four games, currently sits in the fourth and final playoff spot in Group B. Up next is Kazakhstan on Friday.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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