USA (5) vs. LATVIA (3)
Team USA picked up its fourth-consecutive win at the 2017 IIHF World Championship on Saturday, fighting back from a 2-0 deficit to top Latvia 5-3 at LANXESS Arena in Cologne, Germany.
The Latvians, battling for a top seed in Group A, started the scoring off with a goal 11:23 into the opening period. The squad made it 2-0 early in the middle frame when Kaspars Daugavins found netting behind United States netminder Connor Hellebuyck just seven seconds into the stanza.
The U.S. responded roughly nine minutes later when Colorado Avalanche rookie J.T. Compher redirected a shot from Anders Lee (New York Islanders) into the cage to cut the deficit in half. Latvia parried 2:37 later to make it 3-1, but Team USA was up to the challenge.
Americans Nick Bjugstad (Florida Panthers) and Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary Flames) responded in kind to tie the contest 3-3 by the end of the first 40 minutes of action.
The scoring continued in the third as Andrew Copp (Winnipeg Jets) found the eventual game-winner with 3:22 left in regulation and Dylan Larkin (Detroit Red Wings) buried an empty-netter 2:20 later to seal the 5-3 victory.
Compher finished the match with the marker and two shots on goal in 11:55 of playing time.
The Americans (4-0-0-1) moved into second place in Group A with the victory and sit two points ahead of Sweden (3-0-1-1) and two points behind Russia (4-1-0-0). Team USA returns to action Sunday in a game against Slovakia (0-1-2-2).
Latvia (3-0-0-2) is now fourth in Group A and sits one point behind the Swedes. The Latvians have Sunday off before facing the powerhouse Russians on Monday.
FINLAND (3) vs. NORWAY (2) - OVERTIME
It took bonus hockey for a winner to be named in a battle for neighborly Nordic supremacy, and Team Finland picked up it's second straight win on Saturday after topping Norway 3-2 in overtime at AccorHotels Arena in Paris, France.
The Norwegians got on the scoreboard first, burying a power-play tally to take a 1-0 lead through 20 minutes of play.
The Finns countered in the middle stanza, finishing off a man-advantage situation of their own 5:33 into the second period to even things out before finding twine again less than three minutes later to take a 2-1 lead into the second intermission.
With time running out and the pressure on, Norway pulled goaltender Lars Haugen in favor of an extra attacker. Andreas Martinsen (Montreal Canadiens) stepped and tied the game 2-2 with just 29 seconds remaining in regulation.
The momentum wouldn't last for the Norwegians however, as Finland scored 1:55 into the overtime period to skate away with the victory.
Avalanche rookie Mikko Rantanen played 13:18 in the win.
Finland (2-1-1-1) now sits in fourth place in Group B, one point ahead of Norway. The Finns skate again on Sunday against Switzerland (2-2-1-0).
Norway has a day off before taking on top-dog Canada (4-0-1-0) on Monday.
RUSSIA (6) vs. Slovakia (0)
Recently-signed Colorado Avalanche prospect Andrei Mironov scored and Team Russia remained perfect at the 2017 Worlds with a 6-0 win over Slovakia at LANXESS Arena in Cologne on Saturday.
The Russians leapt out to an early lead, scoring 1:12 into the game, and never looked back. Yevgeni Dadonov tallied twice in the first 14 minutes, and Mironov pushed the lead to 3-0 by the end of the opening frame.
Mironov's marker came on a blast from the point that flew untouched into the Slovakian net, capping off a period that saw Russia hold a 17-6 edge in shots.
The Russians added two more goals in the middle stanza despite strong pushback from Slovakia, which took a shot differential of 12-10. Russia continued from there, outshooting its opponent 12-4 in the third and picking up one more goal to take the 6-0 victory.
Mironov finished the contest with the goal, one shot and a plus-1 rating in 15:43 of ice time.
The Russians (4-1-0-0) maintain first place of Group A with 14 points, but Team USA is close behind. Team Russia has Sunday off before taking on Latvia on Monday.
Slovakia (0-1-2-2) is in seventh place in Group A with four points. The team returns to action on Sunday with a game against the Americans.
SWITERLAND (3) vs. CANADA (2) - OVERTIME
Team Canada is no longer undefeated at the 2017 Worlds after dropping a 3-2 decision to Switzerland in overtime on Saturday at AccorHotels Arena in Paris.
Things started out great for the Canadians, who took a quick 2-0 lead by the 6:28 mark of the first period. Ryan O'Reilly (Buffalo Sabres) scored on the power play and Mitch Marner (Toronto Maple Leafs) followed the goal up with one of his own to chase Swiss goalkeeper Jonas Hiller from the game. Canada finished the frame with the 2-0 advantage and outshot Switzerland 16-6.
The Swiss weathered another Canadian shooting barrage in the middle frame, and the resiliency paid off in the third. Fabrice Herzog converted on a power-play chance, and Vincent Praplan tied the game 2-2 just 3:07 after that to force the eventual bonus hockey frame.
Switzerland managed just one shot in overtime, but it was all the squad needed as Herzog recorded his second goal of the contest 3:40 into the sudden-victory scenario to give the Swiss the 3-2 upset over Canada.
According to the IIHF website, the win was Switerland's third-ever against Canada in 30 meetings at the Worlds. The last upset came in a 3-2 shootout victory in 2012.
Avs netminder Calvin Pickard was between the pipes for the contest and finished with 23 saves. Nathan MacKinnon had four shots and one penalty in 16:28 of playing time. Matt Duchene ended the match with two shots and a minus-2 rating after 12:03 of ice time.
Canada (4-0-1-0) still leads Group B with 13 points, but the Swiss (2-2-1-0) moved into second with 11 points. The Canadians have Sunday off before facing Norway (2-0-2-1) on Monday.
Switzerland faces Finland (2-1-1-1) on Sunday.