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Russia, Switzerland remain unbeaten

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
Russian players celebrate their team's second goal of the night, scored by Nikolai Kulemin, in a 3-2 victory over Germany on Saturday in Cologne.
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Rangers forward Artem Anisimov and Team Russia remained unbeaten at the 2010 IIHF World Championship tournament on Saturday, beating host Germany 3-2 in the Russians' first qualification-round game at Cologne.

NHL players Ilya Kovalchuk, Nikolai Kulemin and Alex Ovechkin scored for Russia, which never trailed in the game.

In another qualification-round match played on Saturday night at Mannheim, Germany, Switzerland also kept is record perfect with a 3-2 victory over the Czech Republic team that features Rangers defenseman Michal Rozsival and former Rangers captain Jaromir Jagr.

Switzerland's hero was Andres Ambuhl, who spent last season with the Rangers organization as a member of the AHL's Hartford Wolf Pack. Ambuhl scored two of his country's goals against Florida Panthers netminder Tomas Vokoun.

In Russia's win over Germany, Anisimov once again skated on the Russian third line with Sergei Mozyakin and former NHL player Maxim Sushinsky.   He finished the night with two shots on goal in 8:13 of total ice time. Anisimov saw only 42 seconds of action in the third period.

Russia outshot Germany 36-34 on the night, and goaltender Semyon Varlamov of the Washington Capitals earned the win with 32 saves. German goalie Dimitri Kotschnew had 33 saves in defeat.

Russia took a 1-0 lead at 14:20 of the first, when Kovalchuk scored at even strength off assists from Alexander Frolov and defenseman Alexei Emelin.

That was all the scoring in the wide-open first period which saw Germany outshoot Russia 13-12, largely on the strength of three power-play oportunities.

Kulemin, who plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs, gave the Russians a 2-0 lead at 6:10 of the middle period with Atlanta forward Maxim Afinogenov and former NHLer Viktor Kozlov picking up assists.

The 2-0 Russian lead lasted until the final second of the middle period, when Christian Ehrhoff scored Germany's first goal -- beating Varlamov on the last of 23 shots through two periods. Michael Wolf and Kai Hospelt assisted on the goal, scored with Anisimov's line on the ice.

Russia extended the lead to 3-1 at 9:46 of the third period when Ovechkin scored off an assist from Washington Capitals teammate Alexander Semin. Four minutes before the goal, Semin had been whistled for roughing, but the Russians managed to kill the penalty and prevent Germany from pulling into a tie.

The Germans responded to Ovechkin's goal at 13:39, as Alexander Barta cut the lead to 3-2, but that was as close as the host nation would come.

While Russia's win was expected, Switzerland's came as something of a surprise against a Czech team missing many of its nations stars. The Czechs outshot Switzerland 32-24, but were stifled by former NHL goaltender Martin Gerber, who now plays in the KHL. Gerber finished with 30 stops.

Rozsival skated on the Czechs top defensive pairing with Petr Caslava, and finished with 18:57 of total ice time to trail only Caslava in that category. He also had two shots on goal.

Outshot by Switzerland 13-8 in the first period, the Czechs trailed 2-0 after 20 minutes oneven-strength goals by Martin Pluss at 4:13 of the first and Ambuhl at 14:07. The Swiss never trailed in the game.

The Czech Republic stormed back in the middle period, outshooting the Swiss 15-6 to take a 23-19 lead in overall shots despite still trailing 3-2 after 40 minutes.

Jan Marek, a former Rangers draft pick traded to Los Angeles in 2007, scored the first Czech goal at 4:07 of the second off an assist from Jakub Voracek, but Ambuhl stretched the lead to 3-1 with his second goal of the game and fourth of the tournament -- tying him with Pluss for the team lead -- at 11:47 of the second.

Defenseman Miroslav Blatak brought the Czechs back to within 3-2 at the 14:41 mark of the second, scoring off an assist from Roman Cervenka.

There was no scoring in the third period, as the Czechs outshot the Swiss 9-5 and killed off the period's only penalty.

Facing a one-goal deficit, the Czechs pulled Vokoun with 1:55 remaining, but it was too little, too late against a determined Swiss team backboned by Gerber's netminding.

Switzerland, which upset Canada in its previous game, improved to a remarkable 4-0 in the tournament.

The Czech Republic plays its next game against Latvia on Monday. Anisimov and the Russians face Denmark on Sunday.
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