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Sweden, Russia earn wins in Sunday's IIHF World Championship action

by Peter Pupello / Tampa Bay Lightning
Vasili Koshechkin #83 goalkeeper of Russia saves the shot of Andrej Podkonicky #14 of Slovakia during the IIHF World Championship group A match between Slovakia and Russia at Lanxess Arena on May 9, 2010 in Cologne, Germany. (Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Sweden pulled out a 5-2 victory on Sunday in the third day of play at the 2010 World Championships after scoring three unanswered goals to break a 2-2 tie in the third period.

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Matthias Weinhandl scored three goals including the game winner midway through the final frame to earn the win over Norway, which allowed the Swedes to keep pace with their Group C rivals, the Czech Republic, by winning in regulation to give both teams three points each in the standings.

Sweden’s Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson had a goal and two assists in the victory as well.

After Weinhandl gave Sweden an early advantage in the opening period, Erik Karlsson made it 2-0 at 12:45 on the power play, sneaking a shot off a faceoff through a group of players and into the net.

Norway cut the deficit to one 20 seconds into the middle stanza when Patrick Thoresen’s quick shot from just inside the faceoff circle got past the pads of goalie Jonas Gustavsson.

Henrik Solberg drew the contest even after he finished off a 2-on-1, but Weinhandl completed the hat trick on a late power play to put the game away.

Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman played an essential role on the blue line, helping the Swedes limit Norway to just 21 shots on the night opposed to their opponent’s 44. The 2009 second overall pick also fired one shot on goal, while coming in second on the team in average ice time with 21:31.

Also in action on Sunday, Slovakia, led by Lightning prospects Vladimir Mihalik and Richard Panik, fell in a hard-fought bout to Russia in Cologne.

Panik contributed four shots on goal and skated 14:54 in ice time, while Mihalik disrupted several plays within Slovakia’s defensive zone and saw just over 18 minutes of playing time.

The effort fell short, however, as a trio of Russian NHL stars each scored to lead their team to a 3-1 win in the country’s first game of the tournament.

Lightning goaltending prospect Vasily Koshechkin also turned back 32 shots for the Russians in the win.

Maxim Afinogenov opened scoring 14:51 into the first period after he got the puck in the high slot, stepped in, and sent a wrist shot between a Slovakian defenseman and his stick, beating goaltender Peter Budaj high on the stick side.

After Alex Ovechkin made it 2-0, Slovakia kept the puck in the Russian zone for over a minute and a half, creating several scoring chances, but the Lightning prospect between the pipes was perfect and helped maintain the two-goal lead.

Ivan Majesky took Slovakia to the board in the final period. The Slovak defenseman fired a wrist shot from high slot and beat Koshechkin to make it a one-goal game 3:51 into the third.

Slovakia had a chance for the equalizer on the power play just minutes later, but Viktor Kozlov sent a shot into an empty net to clinch the victory with 54 seconds remaining in regulation.

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