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by Chris Ryndak / Buffalo Sabres
Cody Hodgson

Cody Hodgson recorded a hat trick as Team Canada defeated Denmark 6-1 on Thursday at the IIHF World Champions in Minsk, Belarus. Hodgson put one in the back of the net in each period of Canada’s victory.

He opened the scoring 5:24 into the game and ripped a slap shot past Patrick Galbrath 5:03 into the second period for his second goal of the game to make it 2-1. He completed the hat trick with 9:36 to play in the third on the power play.

Canada scored four goals in the third period. Galbrath ended the game with 40 saves.

Tyler Myers collected an assist in 18:28 played.

The Canadians, now with 10 points through four games, have a shot at winning Group A as the first round of the tournament continues. They play Italy on Friday and then Sweden on Sunday. Sweden has three wins – with one coming in overtime – in three games for a total of eight points.

And you can mark the Latvian men’s hockey team down for another big win in international competition.

In the other game of the day featuring members of the Sabres organization, Team Latvia downed the United States 6-5 in an up-and-down, fast-paced contest on Thursday.

The back-and-forth affair saw the U.S. overcome a two-goal deficit to tie the game 3-3 and then rally back to make it a one-goal affair with 1:30 remaining in regulation.

Zemgus Girgensons was tripped up as he drove hard to the net with 5:25 remaining in the third period. He was still able to score and put Latvia up 5-4. Girgensons played 18:23 in the contest.

Herberts Vasiljevs beat American goaltender Tim Thomas 3:04 later to give Latvia a two-goal lead.

Thomas stopped 19 of 25 shots while Kristers Gudlevskis turned aside 31.

Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe finished the game with 16:07 of ice time and an even plus/minus rating.

Latvia, led behind the bench by Sabres coach Ted Nolan, defeated Finland in their first game of the tournament last week. The win on Thursday marked the first victory for Latvia since 2001.

Team USA has two wins and two losses in the tournament. They currently sit in fourth place in Group B. The Americans will play Kazakhstan on Friday and Finland on Sunday.

With their third win of the tournament, Latvia jumped up to second and is three points behind undefeated Russia for first place in the pool. The Latvians and Russians will face off against each other on Saturday.

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