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U.S. Hockey Team Scores 4-0 Win Over France At Worlds

By Craig Bohnert | May 12, 2016, 11:41 a.m. (ET)

Mike Condon (#30), Vince Hinostroza (#48), Brady Skjei (#76), Connor Murphy (#5) and France's Jordann Perret (#72) follow a loose puck during preliminary round action at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship on May 12, 2016 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

If winning cures a lot of woes, the U.S. men’s ice hockey team found the right tonic Thursday, taking a 4-0 victory over France in Group B play at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The win leveled the Americans’ record at 2-2 with three games remaining in preliminary play and vaulted them from sixth to third in the group standings. It also improved Team USA’s record against France in world championships history to 9-1 as Mike Condon picked up the shutout in goal.

The United States began as the aggressor, building a quick 7-1 lead in shots during the first five minutes. The French were able to find some momentum in the second 10 minutes, putting pressure on Condon while outshooting the Americans 12-6. Neither team was able to capitalize on a pair of power plays apiece.

France carried the momentum into the second period, but was unable to turn it into a goal. A power play opportunity created when France’s Yohann Auvitu was whistled for delaying the game opened the door for the first goal, as Chris Wideman scored his second power play goal of the tournament to put the U.S. up 1-0 at 34:23.

That tally gave the U.S. a shot of energy. Connor Murphy pushed the lead to 2-0 two minutes later, a goal created when Auston Matthews possessed the puck near the blue line and drew the French defense to him, opening a clear shooting lane for Murphy’s long shot. J.T. Compher added to the cushion just five seconds before the second intermission. Matt Hendricks dug the puck out of the right corner and found Compher near the right spot, and the University of Michigan product squeezed it under Florian Hardy’s glove before the period expired.

Brady Skjei closed out the scoring in the third period, sending in a wrist shot from the right point that ticked off Hardy’s glove for the final 4-0 result. Three of the four U.S. goals came from defensemen (Wideman, Murphy and Skjei).

The Americans continue a busy week against Hungary on Friday, the second contest in as many days during a critical string of three games in four days. They will get an infusion of experience when Brock Nelson of the New York Islanders joins the squad. A veteran of three world championships, Nelson led the team in scoring during their march to the bronze medal last year.