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Rutta's game-winner helps the Czechs advance

The Bolts defenseman scored his first goal of the tournament late in the third period of the Czech Republic's win over the Swiss

by Bryan Burns /

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta scored the game-winning goal in the Czech Republic's 5-4 victory over Switzerland in the final day of round-robin action at the 2019 IIHF World Championship in Slovakia.

Rutta scored on an empty net from the center line with 1:27 to go in a tie game. Moments earlier, Switzerland overcame a 4-2 deficit entering the third period to level the score on Nino Niederreiter's goal with 3:41 remaining.

Rutta recorded his first goal and second point of the tournament.

Rutta finished with the third-highest time on ice (19:56) for the Czechs in the win over Switzerland and was plus-three on the evening. Fellow Czech and Lightning teammate Ondrej Palat took two shots in 10:33.

The Czech Republic finished second in the Group B standings and will take on Germany in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

Russia went a perfect 7-for-7 in round-robin play following a 7-4 win over Sweden to close out Group B action.

The Russians trailed the two-time defending champs 1-0 entering the second period but scored six-consecutive goals in the middle frame to pull away. Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev set up the go-ahead goal at 4:10 of the second period, his point shot deflected out of the air by Evgenii Dadonov for a 2-1 lead. Sergachev finished the group stage with three assists.

Bolts right wing Nikita Kucherov also picked up an assist on Russia's opening goal for his 15th point of the tournament (6 goals, 9 assists), tied for second most with the Czech Republic's Jakub Voracek, two points behind leader William Nylander of Sweden.

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 33-of-37 shots to earn his tourney-best fifth win. Vasilevskiy gave up just seven total goals in his five starts. His .946 save percentage and 1.40 goals-against average are both second best among tournament goalies.

Russia will take on the United States in the quarterfinal round Thursday.

The Americans were 3-0 losers to Canada in the final Group A game. Anthony Cirelli and Mathieu Joseph didn't record a point but combined for three shots for Canada, which claimed first in Group A and takes on Switzerland Thursday.

Host country Slovakia finished fifth in Group A and therefore won't advance to the quarterfinal round but ended the World Championship on a positive with a 2-1 shootout win over Denmark.

Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak took three shots in the victory and finished with 20:33 ice time, fourth highest on Slovakia. Cernak collected three goals and two assists over seven tournament games.

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