U.S. rolls at worlds, set for Russia match
BERN, Switzerland -- The United States feasted on the French defense, producing six different scorers in a 6-2 victory to begin its second-round campaign at the ice hockey world championship on Friday.
The win set the stage for a game against Russia on Saturday, with the leadership of Group E and a likely top quarterfinal seeding on the line.
"The U.S. gets up for two teams -- that's Canada and Russia," coach Ron Wilson said. "We'll be motivated. It'll be fun."
In Zurich, unbeaten Finland was taken to overtime by Slovakia before Sami Kapanen scored his second goal, 3:39 into the extra period, for a 2-1 victory.
The Finns trail Canada by a point in Group F after three matches. The top four of six teams in each group advance to the quarterfinals.
The U.S has seven points from three matches in Group E, and trails Russia by a point.
The U.S. got first-period power-play goals from forwards Kyle Okposo and David Backes -- each getting his first of the tournament -- and added scores in the second from Ryan Shannon, Patrick O'Sullivan and Keith Ballard.
Goalie Al Montoya made 14 saves in his senior international debut.
Yorick Treille and Pierre Edouard Bellemare scored for France on second-period power plays.
Defenseman Jack Johnson completed the 6-2 scoreline midway through the third with his fourth goal in four games.
"My teammates keep getting me the puck," Johnson said. "It was a dangerous game because you know you're supposed to win. We're just glad to get it out of the way."
Wilson said his team dominated the first half as France drew 33 penalty minutes in the first period alone.
"We're using our speed and taking the puck to the net. The only thing the French could do was foul us and we took advantage with our power play," he said.
Montoya, a world junior gold medalist in 2004, made his NHL debut for Phoenix Coyotes only a month ago.
"Representing your country every single time, it's an honor," the 24-year-old Montoya said. "It's a different kind of game, it's more open ice obviously and the game comes at you differently. A win feels good."
Slovakia returns to the Zurich ice to play the Czech Republic on Saturday, while Finland faces Belarus in the late match. Canada gets the day off.
In the relegation group on Friday, Austria beat Hungary 6-0 and Denmark beat Germany 3-1.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
MORE OLYHOCKEY HEADLINES
- Durant, USA pull away from Spain to win gold
- Clippers' Paul has successful surgery on thumb
- Schmitt back to school after Olympic stardom
- Olympian Raisman, Poland Spring sign deal