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Richard Bachman and Team USA tops Sweden in exhibition
Richard Bachman and Team USA tops Sweden in exhibition
GAVLE, Sweden - Jim Slater (Lapeer, Mich./Winnipeg Jets/Michigan State University) and Kyle Okposo (St. Paul, Minn./New York Islanders/University of Minnesota) each tallied a goal and an assist as the U.S. Men's National Team defeated Sweden, 3-2, in a pre-tournament game prior to the 2012 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's World Championship. The tournament will run from May 4-20, in Helsinki, Finland, and Stockholm, Sweden.

"It was a good first game for our team," said Scott Gordon, head coach of the U.S. Men's National Team. "I liked our pace and we created some quality scoring chances. We look forward to the start of the tournament."

Slater gave the U.S. an early lead at 1:55 of the first period when he netted a pass from Okposo at the top of the crease. Jimmy Howard (Syracuse, N.Y./ Detroit Red Wings/University of Maine) stopped all 19 shots he faced in the opening frame to give Team USA a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission.

Bobby Ryan (Cherry Hill, N.J./Anaheim Ducks) gave the U.S. a 2-0 lead at 3:32 of the second period with a wrist shot from the top of the right circle that snuck under Sweden goaltender Viktor Fasth. Paul Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./Colorado Avalanche/University of Denver) assisted on the tally. Okposo extended the U.S. lead to 3-0 when he banged home a rebound at 10:40. But Sweden tacked on two goals in the last five minutes of the period to make it a 3-2 game heading into the final frame.

Richard Bachman (Salt Lake City, Utah/Dallas Stars/Colorado College) entered the game in goal midway through the second period and made several saves in the final minutes of action to preserve a 3-2 victory for Team USA.

The U.S. Men's National Team will open tournament play against France on Friday (May 4) at 5:15 a.m. EDT. The game will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network and scoring updates will be available on Twitter. Use the hashtag #2012MWC to join the conversation surrounding the tournament.

NOTES: Bobby Ryan was named Team USA's Player of the Game ... The exhibition game was played in front of a sold out crowd of 7,519 in Lakerol Arena ... For Team USA's updated roster, click here ... Twenty of the 23 members of Team USA announced played U.S. college hockey ... Six of the 23 players announced are products of USA Hockey's National Team Development Program, including Joey Crabb, Justin Faulk, Cam Fowler, Jimmy Howard, Jack Johnson and Kyle Palmieri ... Fourteen NHL teams are represented on the roster. The Anaheim Ducks have three representatives, while the Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning have two players apiece ... Scott Gordon is the head coach of the 2012 U.S. Men's National Team. Greg Cronin and David Quinn will serve as assistant coaches ... The 2012 U.S. Men’s National Team is under the direction of the U.S. Men’s National Team Advisory Group, led by Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey. Other members include NHL general managers Stan Bowman (Chicago), Brian Burke (Toronto), Paul Holmgren (Philadelphia), Dean Lombardi (Los Angeles), David Poile (Nashville), Ray Shero (Pittsburgh) and Dale Tallon (Florida) and Pittsburgh Penguins pro scout Don Waddell ... USA Hockey's international council, chaired by Tony Rossi, vice president of USA Hockey, has oversight responsibilities for all U.S. national teams ... Sixteen teams will compete at 2012 IIHF Men's World Championship. There will be two groups of eight with one group playing in Helsinki, Finland, and the other playing in Stockholm, Sweden. The semifinals and medal games will be conducted in Helsinski ... NBC Sports is scheduled to televise all Team USA games in the 2012 IIHF Men's World Championship. The complete television schedule is available here.

Posted on 05/01/12

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