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Worlds openers winning hit for Michalek, Shannon

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Milan Michalek and Ryan Shannon had to like their teams' respective starts.

For Jakob Silfverberg and the Swedes ... not so much.

The Czech Republic and United States — both of whom have an Ottawa Senators presence on their rosters — jumped into the pool Saturday for the first time at the 2011 IIHF World Hockey Championship in Slovakia. Michalek and the Czechs turned aside pesky Latvia 4-2 at the Orange Arena in Bratislava, while the Americans rolled past Austria 5-1 at Steel Arena in Kosice.

Both Senators forwards had a hand in the victories. Michalek drew an assist on a second-period goal by Patrik Elias of the New Jersey Devils that wiped out 2-1 Latvia lead. Former Senators winger Martin Havlat of the Minnesota Wild added the game-winner 1:15 into the third.

In Kosice, the U.S. had no such close call against the Austria, scoring twice in each of the first and third periods to score a comfortable victory. Shannon picked up an assist on the fourth American goal, by Kevin Shattenkirk of the St. Louis Blues in the third.

The big shocker of the day came later in the day in Kosice, when Norway rallied from a 3-1 deficit after 20 minutes to edge Sweden 5-4 in a shootout. It was the Norwegians' first victory over their Scandinavian rivals at any level of international hockey in 61 years, covering 11 previous matchups at the worlds, two Olympics, and the world junior and Under-18 tournaments. The two countries did play a tie on the opening day of the 1994 worlds Italy.

Senators forward prospect Silfverberg saw 12:13 of ice time but didn't record a point in his world championship debut. Ottawa defence prospect David Rundblad is not on Sweden's current active roster for the tournament.

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