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Team USA edges Denmark, plus more from the World Championship

by Staff Writer / Columbus Blue Jackets

Connor Hellebuyck (Winnipeg Jets) made 21 saves and forward Brock Nelson (New York Islanders) scored in the second period to lead the United States to a 1-0 win against Denmark on Friday in a Group B preliminary-round game at the 2015 IIHF World Championship at CEZ Arena in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

The United States (4-0-0-1, 12 points) moved back into first place one day after losing for the first time in the tournament, 5-2 to Belarus. The U.S. outshot Denmark 41-21, but goaltender Sebastian Dahm kept his team in the game with 40 saves.

"Too many time tonight looking for the extra pass and it led to turnovers," U.S. coach Todd Richards said, according to the IIHF website. "They played hard, they came after us and forced us into turnovers. We did not manage the puck the way we need to. We were fortunate to get out with a 1-0 win."

Nelson scored his team-high fourth goal of the tournament 7:54 into the second period, beating Dahm on a wraparound.

"It was a tough game, not a lot of chances for both teams, but we found a way to win," Nelson said. "It's a big three points for us."

Forward Jack Eichel, NHL Central Scouting's No. 2-ranked North American skater for the 2015 NHL Draft, was one of seven U.S. players credited with at least three shots on goal.

The U.S. faces Slovenia on Sunday. Denmark (0-0-1-4, one point) continues group play Saturday against Norway.

Norway 3, Slovenia 1: Norway scored three power-play goals to win its Group B game at CEZ Arena.

Patrick Thoresen, Anders Bastiansen and Jonas Holos each scored for Norway (2-0-0-3, six points), which went 3-for-5 with the man-advantage.

Forward Jan Mursak scored for Slovenia, finishing off a perfect pass by Anze Kopitar (Los Angeles Kings). Slovenia (0-0-0-5, zero points) is the only team in the tournament without a point.

"There's no question of our confidence or belief," Slovenia goalie Robert Kristan said, according to the IIHF website. "We believe in each other and we still believe we are going to win games and there are still two games left. We'll keep playing like this and hopefully in the end we can get a victory."

Norway continues group play on Saturday against Denmark; Slovenia tries again for its first win Sunday against the United States.

Germany 2, Latvia 1: Germany scored two goals in the third period, including the game-winner by Matthias Plachta with 2:25 remaining in regulation, to overtake Latvia in a Group A preliminary-round game at 02 Arena in Prague.

Latvia opened the scoring 11:05 into the game on a power-play goal by forward Lauris Darzins, but was unable to capitalize on four other German penalties during the first two periods.

After managing all of 10 shots through 40 minutes, Germany got a five-minute power play early in the third period when Latvia's Janis Sprukts was called for kneeing, and forward Michael Wolf scored on a rebound at 6:46 to tie the game.

Plachta's unassisted goal put Germany ahead to stay. His shot hit the crossbar, dropped down and was originally ruled no goal on the ice. But a video review showed the puck completely crossed the goal line.

"I didn't think it was in," Plachta said, according to the IIHF website. "I didn't see it. It was right behind the goalie. But then I guess the ref checked it, and I guess it was in. Now we're all happy."

Germany (2-0-0-3, six points) plays the Czech Republic on Sunday. Latvia (0-1-0-4, two points) faces Austria on Saturday.

Czech Republic 4, Austria 0: Ondrej Pavelec (Winnipeg Jets) made 12 saves to lead the host country to victory in a Group A game at 02 Arena.

Forward Jakub Voracek (Philadelphia Flyers) had one of the goals for the Czech Republic (3-0-1-1, 10 points).

Austria (0-1-0-3, two points) kept the game scoreless until Ondrej Nemec, Martin Zatovic and Vladimir Sobotka scored in a span of 8:59 after the midway point of the second period.

"It was our second game in two days, which is always tough," Pavelec said, according to the IIHF website. "We were waiting for that first goal for longer than we expected, but we were patient. We didn't start the game the way we wanted, but we found a way to score some goals in the second [period], which was huge. We controlled the game after that."

Voracek scored seven seconds into the third period. Michal Jordan (Carolina Hurricanes) and Tomas Hertl (San Jose Sharks) had the assists.

The Czech Republic plays its next game on Sunday against Germany; Austria faces Latvia on Saturday.

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