After falling behind 1-0 early in their game against France, the United States rode three unanswered goals to a 3-2 victory in another qualifying round match today. This regulation wins puts the United States in a great position to reach the 2011 World Championships’ quarterfinals, with their final qualifying game coming against Switzerland on Monday.
Derek Stepan, Mark Stuart and Chris Kreider scored America’s goals. Paul Gaustad earned two assists in the game. Ty Conklin had a much easier game this time around, stopping 20 out of 22 shots to win against familiar face Cristobal Huet, who made 35 out of 38 saves in defeat.
The USA moved into a second place tie with Sweden at 7 points, although the Swedes has only played in three games versus America’s four. The American team must finish the qualifying round in the top four of Group F to advance to the quarterfinals. Team Canada already clinched a spot in the next round with a 3-2 win against Norway.
Group F standings
Canada – 10 pts (4 games played)
Sweden – 7 pts (3 GP)
United States – 7 pts (4 GP)
Norway – 5 pts (4 GP)
Switzerland – 3 pts (3 GP)
France – 1 pt (already eliminated)
Check out these video highlights of America’s win against France.
The United States team should also get a boost in the form of James van Riemsdyk, whose Philadelphia Flyers were swept by the Boston Bruins. The young forward is currently tied for the 2011 playoffs goal scoring lead at 7 with Danny Briere and Sean Bergenheim, although that obviously won’t stand through two more rounds. Either way, he had a breakthrough postseason and could rank as one of the best forwards on this limited American squad.
We’ll keep you informed about the team’s quest to bring home a medal from the World Championships for the first time since they earned a bronze in 2004.