Auston Matthews, expected to be the first pick of the 2016 NHL Draft, scored two goals and had an assist to help the United States to a 6-3 win against Belarus in a Group B preliminary-round game of the 2016 IIHF World Championship at Yubileiny Arena in St. Petersburg on Saturday.
The goals were the first of the tournament for Matthews, an 18-year-old center who is No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of international skaters for the 2016 draft. He played for Zurich in National League A, Switzerland's top professional league, this season.
Noah Hanifin (Carolina Hurricanes) and Dylan Larkin (Detroit Red Wings) each had a goal and an assist for the U.S., and Miles Wood (New Jersey Devils) and Chris Wideman (Ottawa Senators) also scored. Goaltender Mike Condon (Montreal Canadiens) had 20 saves.
Matthews' first goal, on the power play at 14:25 of the second period, gave the U.S. a 5-1 lead. He settled a bouncing puck and scored under the crossbar with a shot from the bottom of the left circle.
After Belarus cut the U.S. lead to 5-3, Matthews scored the game's final goal at 14:40 of the third period. He took a pass from Frank Vatrano (Boston Bruins) at the hash marks and scored over the glove of goaltender Kevin Lalande.
Wood gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead in the first period, and then Matthews set up Wideman's power-play goal at 13:38 of the first.
Goals by Larkin and Hanifin in the second period sandwiched a goal by Belarus' Geoff Platt to give the U.S. a 4-1 lead.
The U.S. is tied with Canada, Finland and Slovakia for first place in Group B with three points but is the only one of the four to play two games. The U.S. lost to Canada 5-1 in its tournament opener Friday. It next plays Monday against Finland.
Kazakhstan 3, Switzerland 2 (SO): Nigel Dawes scored twice in the shootout and Kazakhstan beat Switzerland in a Group A preliminary-round game at Ice Palace in Moscow.
International rules allow teams to use the same shooter an unlimited amount of times after the third round of the shootout.
Dawes, who played in the NHL with the New York Rangers, Atlanta Thrashers, Arizona Coyotes and Montreal Canadiens, had missed on a first-period penalty shot.
Vitali Kolesnik made 49 saves through overtime and had four saves in the shootout.
Raphael Diaz (New York Rangers) and Sven Andrighetto (Montreal Canadiens) had assists for Switzerland on Samuel Walser's first-period goal, and Reto Berra (Colorado Avalanche) stopped 24 shots.
France 3, Germany 2 (SO): Cristobal Huet made 27 saves through overtime and then stopped Leon Draisaitl (Edmonton Oilers), Tobias Rieder (Arizona Coyotes) and Marcel Goc in the shootout for France in a Group B preliminary-round game in St. Petersburg.
Rieder scored for Germany.
Slovakia 4, Hungary 1: Tomas Jurco (Detroit Red Wings) and Andrej Sekera (Edmonton Oilers) each had a goal and an assist for Slovakia in its Group B preliminary-round win in St. Petersburg.
Martin Marincin (Toronto Maple Leafs) had two assists, including one on Jurco's first-period goal that broke a 1-1 tie at 17:43. Jurco and Marincin also had assists on Sekera's goal at 15:09 of the second period.
Denmark 3, Norway 0: Nicklas Jensen (New York Rangers) scored two goals and Lars Eller (Montreal Canadiens) had an assist as Denmark picked up a win in a Group A preliminary-round game in Moscow.
Sebastian Dahm made 44 saves for Denmark.
Czech Republic 4, Latvia 3 (SO): Michal Repik's goal tied the game at 19:01 of the third period and Lukas Kaspar scored in the shootout as the Czech Republic won its second straight in Group A in Moscow.
The Czech Republic leads Group A with five points. It's the only team in the tournament to win its first two games; on Friday it beat Russia 3-0.
Trailing 2-1 through two periods, Latvia's Zemgus Girgensons (Buffalo Sabres) scored to tie the game at 8:20 of the third period, and Mikelis Redlihs put Latvia ahead with 2:19 left in the third period.
Tomas Plekanec (Montreal Canadiens) scored two first-period goals. David Pastrnak (Boston Bruins) assisted on the first one, at 3:33 of the first period that started the scoring.