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Changes Atop The Group Standings

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers
There was a change atop the Groups while the Czechs won a close game and Slovakia fell in a close one of their own.

After Friday's competition, Canada (Group S) and Finland (Group H, thanks to a 3-2 victory over Russia) sit atop their respective groups.


STOCKHOLM, Sweden - With Switzerland on an off day, Canada had a chance to take over first place in Group S with a victory over Belarus on Friday. They did just that in scoring twice in the opening period on their way to a 4-1 victory.

The scoring got started when Colorado's Ryan O'Reilly scored at the 11:17 mark. Then they put the power play to good use in scoring their next three goals on the man advantage for a 4-0 lead. Winnipeg's Andrew Ladd made it a 2-0 game before the first ended with a goal with 3:01 remaining.

They then added a goal in each of the next two periods. Philadelphia's Claude Giroux set up Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos 5:27 into the second. The duo then combined for Canada's final goal with Stamkos setting up Giroux 2:35 into the third.

The Canadians dominated the game in outshooting Belarus 37-10 but couldn't finish the shutout bid for Edmonton's Devan Dubnyk as Alexei Yefimenko scored with 4:02 remaining in the final 20 minutes of play.

Defenseman Brian Campbell finished with a shot and was a minus-1 on 18:41 of ice time for Canada.



STOCKHOLM, Sweden - It was a special teams battle as the Czech Republic pulled away from Slovenia with two power play goals in the third for a 4-2 victory. Five of the six goals scored were with the teams on the man advantage.

While the game saw four power play goals, the first goal of the game actually came via the shorthanded route as the Czech's Petr Koukal stole the puck to score 5:39 into the contest. Slovenia answered right back on the same power play when Robert Sabolic scored 42 seconds later. The Slovenians actually took the lead at the 11:47 mark when Rok Ticar beat Winnipeg's Pavelec. The game would go into the intermission tied at two however as Calgary's Jiri Hudler netted his fourth of the tournament with a power play goal with 43 seconds remaining.

A scoreless second set up the final 20 minutes and with Slovenia running into penalty trouble, the Czechs made them pay. Zbynek Michalek netted the game-winner 5:58 into the period and Jiri Novotny put the nail in the coffin with a power play goal with 4:05 let on the clock.

Forward Tomas Fleischmann had three shots on net on 12:48 of ice time while skating on the third line.



HELSINKI, Finland - Both Austria and Slovakia picked up points on Friday but the Austrians got the important second point thanks to Buffalo's Thomas Vanek who scored the lone goal in the shootout for a 2-1 victory.

Slovakia actually got on the board nine minutes into the game when Tomas Surovy netted his second of the tournament. That would stand as the game's only goal until midway through the second when Gerhard Unterluggauer beat Rastislav Stana with a shot with 6:43 remaining.

The low scoring game was not in fault of the offenses but more due to the play of the goaltenders. Stana turned aside 33 shots in the loss while Bernhard Starkbaum was brilliant in stopping 42 shots. Starkbaum was just one save better as Stana couldn't stop Vanek's shot on the second attempt.

Panthers forward Tomas Kopecky finished with a shot, plus-1 and a minor penalty on 16:55 of ice time.


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