The United States have solidly defeated France in their first qualifying game at the Ice Hockey World Championship in Switzerland.
Six different players scored for the sixth-ranked US on Friday evening as they cruised past France 6-2. Davis Backes of the St Louis Blues scored a goal and two assists in the effort.
The US have won three of four games so far.
French goalie Fabrice Lhenry stopped over 40 shots through 60 minutes of play.
The Americans admitted afterward that they were already focused on Saturday's game against Russia that will determine top spot in Group E – and likely a top seeding for the quarterfinal.
"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."
The win gives the Americans sole possession of second place in their group, one point back of Russia.
The US will play Russia on Saturday evening in Bern. France play Latvia in the afternoon.
Slovakia come close
In Zurich, third-ranked Finland beat eighth-ranked Slovakia 2-1 in overtime thanks to two goals from captain Sami Kapanen.
Kapanen struck first at 15:05 with a shorthanded goal against Jaroslav Halak of Slovakia.
Early into the second period, Michal Handzus of Slovakia drove into the Finnish zone and took a shot at goalie Pekka Rinne. Rinne stopped the puck but gave up a rebound to Lubos Bartecko, who put it in the net.
Both sides had chances in the third period but 60 minutes would end with Finland and Slovakia tied 1-1. Kapanen struck with 1:21 remaining in overtime to decide the game.
"It is great to get the win," said Rinne. "We struggled a bit tonight it was not one of our strongest games."
Both teams play again on Saturday. Slovakia will face the Czech Republic and Finland play Belarus in the evening.
swissinfo with agencies
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