CANADA (6) VS. SWEDEN (4)
Canada overcame a three-goal, first-period deficit to pull out a 6-4 win in a hard-fought game against Sweden at O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic on Wednesday.
The victory gave Canada (4-0-0-0) a four-point lead in the Group A standings, helping the squad pull away from both Sweden (2-1-0-1) and Switzerland (2-0-2-0) as the preliminary round continues at the 2015 IIHF World Championship.
Anton Lander, Victor Rask and Filip Forsberg each scored in the opening frame to give the Swedes a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes.
Canada mounted a comeback in the middle stanza, with goals from Aaron Ekblad, Taylor Hall (penalty shot) and Sean Couturier breathing new life into the heavily favorited team. Sweden countered when Oscar Moller tallied late in the second period, but Canada wasn’t done.
Another three-marker burst in the final 20 minutes proved too much for goaltender Anders Nilsson and Sweden to overcome. Patrick Wiercioch, Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin (empty net) put the game away while Canadian netminder Mike Smith finished the match with 28 saves, turning aside some chances late.
Colorado Avalanche forward Ryan O'Reilly assisted on both Canada’s first tally—by Ekblad—and last—by Seguin into the empty net.
Ekblad and Hall each finished with a goal and an assist for Canada. Loui Eriksson had two assists for Sweden.
The Canadians return to action on Saturday in a matchup with France (1-0-0-2) at 4:15 a.m MT.
LATVIA (2) VS. SWITZERLAND (1) - OVERTIME
Switzerland tied the game in the final minutes of the third period, but Latvia (0-1-0-3) won 2-1 after tallying early in overtime at O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic.
Matthias Bieber scored the tying goal for Switzerland with 1:59 left in the game before Kasper Daugavins recorded the game-winner for the Latvians at 2:19 of the extra period.
Avalanche goaltender Reto Berra returned to the crease for Switzerland after not playing in the team's past two outings. He finished with 19 saves.
The Swiss' next game is Saturday at 12:15 p.m. MT against Sweden.
RUSSIA (5) VS. DENMARK (2)
Russia (3-0-0-1) jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first period and never let up in a 5-2 victory over Denmark (0-0-1-3) at CEZ Arena in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
Defenseman and Avalanche prospect Markus Lauridsen had one shot on goal in 17:46 of ice time for Denmark. He finished with a minus-1 rating.
Denmark plays the United States (3-0-0-0) on Friday at 12:15 p.m. MT.
NORWAY (3) VS. SLOVAKIA (2)
Norway (1-0-0-3) battled back after falling down 2-0 to complete a comeback on Wednesday at CEZ Arena in Ostrava, Czech Republic, defeating Slovakia (1-2-0-1) for the first time in team history in World Championship play.
The Norwegians found themselves in a hole after goals from Tomas Surovy, at 18:03 of the first period, and Marek Daloga, at 1:29 of the second, put them on their heels.
The underdog then proceeded to score three unanswered tallies to take its first win of the 2015 tournament.
Mattias Norstebo beat Slovakia goaltender Jan Laco on the power play at 5:40 of the middle frame and Norway got the next one nearly 10 minutes later—at 10:30—when Mats Rosseli Olsen converted to put the game within one.
Norstebo again found the scoresheet on another power play just 1:56 into the third stanza to seal the 3-2 victory.
Avalanche defensive prospect Jonas Holos assisted on both power-play markers and skated a team-high 27:47 in the win.
Norway will face Slovenia (0-0-0-3) on Friday at 8:15 a.m. MT.