Jaromir Jagr of the New Jersey Devils and Jiri Sekac scored, and Alexander Salak needed to make 11 saves to give the Czech Republic to a 2-0 victory against Italy in preliminary-round action Wednesday at the 2014 IIHF World Championship at Chizhovka Arena in Minsk, Belarus.
Goalie Daniel Bellissimo made 35 saves for Italy.
Sekac gave the Czech Republic (2-2, six points) a 1-0 lead 2:53 into the second period with assists from Calgary Flames forward Jiri Hudler and Ondrej Nemec. Jagr scored his second goal of the tournament off a hard wrist shot into the top corner with 4:26 remaining in the third off a pass from former Flames forward Roman Cervenka.
"I don't think we were surprised," Nemec told the IIHF website. "If you're playing at the World Championship, every team is really good. They showed us today how good they are. It was a really tough game for us. We wanted to score a goal a little bit earlier."
The Czechs, who outshot the Italians 37-11, will next face Denmark in Group A competition Saturday. Italy (1-3, three points) will play Canada on Friday.
"The third period was really tough," Nemec said. "Sometimes there were some lucky moments with the puck jumping in our crease. But for us, the most important thing is three points."
Switzerland 3, Germany 2: Kevin Romy scored 16:27 into the second period to give Switzerland a 3-1 lead in preliminary-round play of Group B at Minsk Arena. That eventual game-winner came after Denis Hollenstein's goal 12:13 into the second snapped a 1-1 tie and Switzerland, a silver medalist at the 2013 IIHF World Championship, snapped a three-game losing streak to open the tournament.
"When we play our game and put Germany under pressure we are faster and more skilled than they are," Romy told the IIHF website. "This was a better effort by our side and a return to the things that we've done well in the past."
Defenseman Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators had two assists and finished with a game-high 25:16 of ice time for the Swiss. Forward Thomas Oppenheimer scored twice for Germany (2-2, five points) and has four goals in the tournament.
Germany almost tied the game in the final minute of regulation when forward Alexander Barta hit the crossbar from close range.
"We had a great chance for a fourth goal then they came straight back down the ice and hit the bar," Josi said. "Everything went so fast. I saw [Barta] in front of the goal and thought 'please don't score.' Luckily he put it on the crossbar."
Switzerland (1-3, three points) resumes tournament play Friday against Finland. Germany will face Belarus on Saturday.
Russia 7, Kazakhstan 2: Viktor Tikhonov had a goal and four points, Sergei Plotnikov had two goals and two assists, and Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals had two assists for unbeaten Russia in preliminary-round action in Group B at Minsk Arena.
Russia scored four power-play goals, two by Plotnikov and one each by Danis Zaripov and Nikolai Kulemin of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Alexander Burmistrov and Yegor Yakovlev also scored for Russia (4-0, 12 points), which will next face Latvia on Saturday.
Kazakhstan received third-period goals from Mikhail Panshin and Andrei Spiridonov to cut the deficit to 5-2 before Plotnikov and Burmistrov, formerly of the Winnipeg Jets, closed the scoring. Ovechkin, Plotnikov and Tikhonov have accounted for 11 of Russia's 22 goals in the tournament. Ovechkin, who has a point in all four tournament games, has three goals and five assists. Tikhonov leads the tournament with nine points.
Kazakhstan (0-4, 1 point) will next face the United States on Friday.
Slovakia 5, Norway 2: Ladislav Nagy scored twice and Michel Miklik had a goal and two assists for Slovakia in preliminary-round action of Group A at Chizhovka Arena.
Each team scored two goals in the first period, when Norway held a 13-8 advantage in shots. Tomas Tatar of the Detroit Red Wings and Jaraj Mikus scored for Slovakia and Anders Bastiansen and Morten Ask connected for Norway. Nagy's first goal came with 18 seconds remaining in the second and gave Slovakia a 3-2 lead. He struck again 7:47 into the third before Miklik scored 46 seconds later to seal the win.
"In the first period, it was equal, and in the second and third period we were stronger," Slovakia coach Vladimir Vujtek told the IIHF website. "We are satisfied with the win."
Jan Laco made 18 saves for Slovakia (1-3, four points) and Lars Haugen made 28 saves for Norway (2-2, six points). Slovakia will next play against Sweden on Friday; Norway will face France on Saturday.
Slovakia had placed no higher than 10th at the World Championship from 2008 to 2011 but won a silver medal in 2012 and finished eighth in 2013. They opened the 2014 tournament with three straight losses.
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