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Michigan hockey @ Sochi Olympics: USA wins; Kesler, Pacioretty, Fowler solid

The United States hockey team made it clear that they were ready to compete in their 7-1 opening game victory over Slovakia Thursday in the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Fordward Ryan Kesler (#17) of Livonia had a goal and an assist in the Team USA win over Slovakia.\
Fordward Ryan Kesler (#17) of Livonia had a goal and an assist in the Team USA win over Slovakia.\
Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images

Three Michigan hockey players - forwards Ryan Kesler and Max Pacioretty and defenseman Cam Fowler - were solid performers in game #1 of the preliminary round. Goaltender Ryan Miller did not participate in the first game.

Kesler, a Livonia native who stars for the Vancouver Canucks in the National Hockey League (NHL), scored a goal, had an assist and finished +4 for the game. Pacioretty, who played college hockey at the University of Michigan and now plays for the Montreal Canadians in the NHL, had an assist and finished at +2 in the opener.

Farmington Hills' Cam Fowler, who plays defense for the NHL's Anaheim Ducks, helped in holding Slovakia to one goal and finished at +2 for the game.

The first challenge for Team USA in hockey occurs tomorrow when they face the Russian team led by Detroit Red Wing forward Pavel Datsyuk. Russia beat Slovenia, 5-2, with NHL All-Stars Alexander Ovechkin and Yevgeni Maklin each scoring a goal.