France opened the scoring in the first period, but the Americans answered with less than four minutes remaining in the period on a four-on-four goal by Blake Wheeler (Robbinsdale, MN). Team USA went up by two goals in the second period when defenseman Mark Stuart (Rochester, MN) and Chris Kreider (Boxford, MA) found the back of the net. Kreider’s power play goal in the second period turned out to be the game winner and it was set-up by the 2011 Hobey Baker Award winner Andy Miele in his debut game for the red, white and blue. The score remained 3-1 until 4:30 left in the third period, when France scored a power play goal on a screened Ty Conklin. The Americans were able to hold of the French attack for the final couple of minutes and secured the 3-2 victory.
U.S. goaltender Ty Conklin faced 22 shots and made 20 saves, while France’s Christobal Huet (ex-Blackhawks goaltender) faced 38 shots and made 35 saves. The U.S. power play went 1 for 9 in the game and it will definitely need to improve before the next round. Paul Gaustad was named U.S. Player of the Game.
USA will next face Switzerland on Monday (May 9), at 10:15 a.m. EDT, live on Versus, in its final qualification-round game.