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Young USA Team Wins First Game at Hockey World Championships

Martin AverySenior Writer IApril 26, 2009

ATLANTA - JANUARY 25:  Western Conference Youngstar Jack Johnson of the Los Angeles Kings poses for a portrait as part of the 2008 NHL All-Star weekend at Phillips Arena on January 25, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images for the NHL)

In the first match of International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championships' Group C in Switzerland yesterday, the Latvian national team was defeated by the United States 4-2. Robert Esche stopped 18-of-20 shots for the win.

The goals scored by the U.S. team went to Jack Johnson (Los Angeles Kings), with two, and Drew Stafford (Buffalo Sabres) and Patrick O' Sullivan (Edmonton Oilers) with singles in the third period.

The U.S. team outshot Latvia 41 to 19.

The U.S. had 22 players for the match after St. Louis Blues forwards David Backes and T.J. Oshie arrived, according to USA Today. Montreal Canadiens forward Christopher Higgins and goalie Alec Richards from Yale University were also added to the roster.

Several team members—Zach Bogosian, Ron Hainsey, Ryan Suter, Jack Johnson, Keith Ballard, and Matt Niskanen— are strong candidates for the 2010 U.S. Olympic team. Team USA is coached by the Toronto Maple Leafs' Ron Wilson, who also will coach the Olympic team in February.

12 of the 19 players are 25 or younger, including forward Colin Wilson, a Nashville Predators prospect. Other forwards are Dustin Brown, Jason Blake, Nick Foligno, Kyle Okposo, Peter Harrold, Colin Stuart, Ryan Shannon, Patrick O'Sullivan, Lee Stempniak, and Drew Stafford.

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