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US, Russia Sit Atop Standings After Day 3, Canada Suffers Loss

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers

One hockey power earned an expected win while another lost a hockey stunner and the third couldn't stop a hockey power, namely due to the play of superstar Ilya Kovalchuk.

After it was said and done, the United States (4-1 victory over Latvia) and Russia (4-1 victory over Germany) sit atop Group H after two games with six points played while Canada (3-2 SO loss to Switzerland) is currently third in Group S with four points.


HELSINKI, Finland - For the second straight game, the United States gave up the game's first goal but rebounded nicely to take away another three points with the 4-1 victory over Latvia.

The teams played a relatively safe first period despite three penalties as they combined for nine shots. The offensive fireworks got started early in the second as they combined for three goals in the opening 4:21 of the frame.

Latvia got on the board 1:11 into the second as Arturs Kulda scored off the feed of former Panther prospect/player Janis Sprukts. That would be all Tampa Bay netminder Ben Bishop would allow as he stopped 19 shots in the victory.

The Americans responded to the underdog's tally a minute later when Tim Stapleton netted his second of the tournament. They took the lead for good as Coyotes' forward David Moss scored on a power play 2:10 later.

The penalties kept up with six more minors called, including four on the US, but they held a 2-1 lead after two periods of play.

In the third, the United States struck twice in a 1:26 span to put the game away. First it was Bobby Butler scoring on another power play with 9:05 remaining while Matt Hunwick scored with 7:39 remainng.

Panthers forward Nick Bjugstad failed to find the score sheet while playing in 8:27 of ice time. Staying perfect and tied atop Group A with Russia, the US will have Monday off before taking on Russia for the top spot in Group H on Tuesday.



STOCKHOLM, Sweden - In one of the biggest early surprises of the tournament, Switzerland scored first, tied it late and recorded the knockout punch in downing Canada 3-2 in a shootout.

The Swiss came out buzzing the Canadians and held a 12-3 shot advantage after the first period of play. They were able to get the game's first as Denis Hollenstein scored with 6:49 left in the frame thanks to their work in the offensive zone.

Switzerland got in penalty trouble in the second period but the Canadians weren't able to convert on their two chances. They did knot the game at one however as Winnipeg's Andrew Ladd scored with 5:27 left in the frame. They took the lead 7:35 into the third when Philadelphia's Matt Read beat Martin Gerber.

That lead wasn't enough as the Islanders Nino Niederreiter netted his second of the tournament with 6:46 left to play to send it into overtime. Five minutes of overtime proved nothing and it would take eight rounds of shooters to determine the winner.

There, Mike Smith couldn't find an answer for Switzerland's Reto Suri as the Swiss forward scored in the second and eighth rounds. Colorado's Matt Duchene answered Suri in the third round to force the sudden death but couldn't do the same in the eighth, giving Switzerland a big two points.

Panthers blueliner Brian Campbell was on the ice for Canada's second goal and finished with a shot, plus-1 and 22:25 of ice time, second most on the team behind his defensive partner, Luke Schenn (22:58). The Canadians will get the day off before taking on Norway on Tuesday.



HELSINKI, Finland - The underdogs held in for half of the game but it was too much New Jersey forward Ilya Kovalchuk as Russia downed Germany 4-1 on Day 3. The Russian sniper recorded a natural hat trick in the victory to give his team the top spot after two games played in Group A.

It was a feeling out of sorts in the opening period as the teams combined for 12 shots. Colorado netminder Semyon Varlamov was the busier of the two netminders in making eight saves. After a scoreless first, Kovalchuk took the game over in the second with goals less than seven minutes apart. His first came 3:20 into the frame while his second was recorded off the feed from Alexander Radulov at the 10:09 mark.

Germany made it a one-goal game as John Tripp scored 5:03 into the third period but Kovalchuk finished off his hat trick with 1:40 left in the contest before Denis Kokarev added an empty netter with 21 seconds remaining.

Panthers forward Marcel Goc finished with two shots and was a minus-3 while skating in 19:46 of ice time. Germany is right back at it on Monday where they'll take on Slovakia.


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