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Top line powers Canada past Belarus at Worlds

Friday, 05.10.2013 / 5:02 PM / News

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Top line powers Canada past Belarus at Worlds
Worlds: Thomas Vanek leads Austria to shootout upset.

The top line for Canada was far too much for Belarus to handle on Friday at the 2013 IIHF World Championship.

Steven Stamkos, Claude Giroux and Andrew Ladd each scored a goal and the trio combined for seven points in Canada's 4-1 victory at Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden.

Ryan O'Reilly also scored and Devan Dubnyk needed to make just nine saves for Canada.

"There weren't many mistakes tonight," Dubnyk told the IIHF website. "We played a full 60 minutes. If we keep playing this way, we should be on the right side of games."

Alexei Yefimenko broke up Dubnyk's shutout bid with 4:02 remaining by scoring the lone Belarus goal.

Canada improved to 4-0-1-0 in the tournament, good for 13 points, pulling ahead of Switzerland which has 11 points and a game in hand. The Canadians are next in action on Sunday against the Czech Republic.

Under siege for most of the game, Dmitri Milchakov stopped 33 shots for Belarus, whose next opponent is Norway on Saturday.

Finland 3, Russia 2: It was a much stronger opponent, but the same result for Russia, which was edged by host Finland at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki as Petri Kontiola scored twice.

Juhamatti Aaltonen's power-play goal with four minutes remaining in the second period turned out to be the game-winner and Antti Raanta turned in a 34-save performance to lead the Finns over the defending tournament champion.

"I think we've had a good start to the tournament, and we've won games, but I don't think we've played the way we should have," Kontiola told the IIHF website. "But today, we played a good 60-minute game, and that's why we won."

A power-play goal by Alexander Radulov and a late strike by Ilya Kovalchuk with goalie Semyon Varlamov pulled for an extra attacker wasn't enough for Russia, which was coming off a stunning 2-1 defeat to France on Thursday.

Aaltonen set up Kontiola for the game's opening goal and the only score in the first period at the 3:22 mark.

Radulov evened things up 3:37 into the second, but Kontiola put Finland in front to stay at 7:21 before Aaltonen extended the lead. Raanta was stellar in the third, as Russia held a 21-3 advantage in shots, but only managed Kovalchuk's goal with 1:48 remaining.

Finland takes the ice again Saturday when it faces Austria. The next game for Russia comes Sunday against Slovakia.

Austria 2, Slovakia 1: Thomas Vanek scored the only goal in the shootout Friday as Austria upset Slovakia at Hartwall Arena.

It was the second consecutive day Slovakia suffered a surprising defeat, coming on the heels of a 5-3 loss to Latvia on Thursday.

"You go into the tournament, see whoever's in your pool, and start thinking: 'Who? Where? How?' But right now, everybody's on the same level," Slovakia defenseman Milan Jurcina told the IIHF website. "There is no difference between the French, the Russians. Everybody can beat everybody. That's what this tournament's proved so far."

Tomas Surovy scored nine minutes into the first period to give Slovakia a temporary lead and Rastislav Stana made 33 saves.

Gerhard Unterluggauer scored 13:17 into the second to draw Austria even and send the game to a shootout, where Bernhard Starkbaum was flawless in finishing with 42 total saves.

"[Goaltending] is a big factor in our game," Austria forward Daniel Welser said. "The goaltender is like 70 or 80 percent. He gave us such a boost. He knew he didn't play that well in the first two games, but as the tournament's gone along, he's battled through."

Czech Republic 4, Slovenia 2: Zbynek Michalek and Jiri Novotny scored third-period power-play goals as the Czech Republic pulled away from an upstart Slovenia team at Globe Arena.

Special teams played a key role for both teams, as the Czechs also got a power-play goal from Jiri Hudler to pull even in the final minute of the first period and a shorthanded goal by Petr Koukal that opened the scoring.

In between, Slovenia struck twice as Robert Sabolic scored on the power play and later set up the game's only even-strength goal by Rok Ticar.

"We didn't play very well," Michalek told the IIHF website. "The only positive we can take is we got the three points -- or maybe the three power-play goals we scored. Our game is not good right now. It needs to be better."

Ondrej Pavelec made 23 saves for the Czech Republic.

Quote of the Day

I came into a team that had 65 points, that was at the bottom of the basement, a team that everybody wrote off as never going to be good. My goal is to go from the very bottom to the very top.

— Forward Brandon Dubinsky on signing a six-year contract extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets