IIHF World Championship Day 2: Russia edges Sweden, Finland downs USA

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Day two of the IIHF World Championship preliminary games are in the books. In case you missed the action, let’s get you caught up on what went down.

Group A

Russia 7, Great Britain 1

After beating Czech Republic 4-3 to open group play, the Russians followed that up with a 7-1 thrashing of Great Britain on Saturday at Olympic Sports Centre, leaving no doubt who would win this one early.

Russia scored early and often, lighting the lamp for four goals in the opening five minutes of the game. Anton Burdasov led the way for Russia with two goals, while Dmitri Voronkov, Sergei Tolchinski, and Mikhail Grigorenko all got on the scoreboard as well.

Liam Kirk would score the loan goal for the Brits.

“From our point of view it was a good first period, regardless of the level of the opposition,” said Russian captain Anton Slepyshev. “But then Britain recovered and tried to prove something. I’m sure they can progress but at the moment with that roster I don’t think they could compete in the KHL.”

Denmark 4, Sweden 3

Nicklas Jensen led Denmark to victory, making it their first win over Sweden in the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship tournament.

Jensen tallied a hat-trick and had the assist on Emil Kristensen’s go-ahead goal late in the third period.

“This is our first time ever beating Sweden [at the Worlds]. We beat them in exhibition games when we were preparing for this so we knew there was a chance we could do it and that gave us hope,” he said after the game.

Switzerland 5, Czech Republic 2

The special teams for the Swiss was red hot on Saturday as Switzerland scored four power-play goals in their 5-2 win over Czech Republic.

Timo Meier and Gregory Hofmann led the way with two goals apiece.

“It’s the start we wished for,” said Swiss forward Andres Ambuhl. “It’s exciting to start with a win. It was a great team effort, and the power plays helped us today. We worked on it a lot in practise, and today luckily it worked out and it’s the reason we won the game.”

Switzerland faces Denmark on Sunday, while Czech Republic takes on Belarus Monday.

Group B

Germany 5, Norway 1

The Germans easily took care of business, downing Norway 5-1 in their second game in less than 24 hours on Saturday.

19-year-old Lukas Reichel tallied two points in the win, picking up a goal and an assist.

“The opponent started with energy but we didn’t have any problems,” said German coach Toni Soderholm. “We almost played the game we wanted. The tempo was higher today against Norway; the game was more physical and suited us. Norway challenged our players and our players played a very solid game.”

Norway faces Italy on Sunday.

Finland 2, USA 1

Finland used a stellar performance in net by goaltender Jussi Olkinuora to defeat the U.S. 2-1 at Arena Riga on Saturday.

Atte Ohtamaa opened the scoring for Finland and Iiro Pakarinen had the game-winning goal in the second period. Jason Robertson had the lone goal for the Americans.

Finland head coach Jukka Jalonen

“The USA was excellent today,” Finland head coach Jukka Jalonen said. “They’re a very strong and disciplined team. We had quite big problems in the third period, but fortunately our goalie Olkinuora was great in our net.”

Kazakhstan 3, Latvia 2 (Shootout)

After a seven round shootout, Kazakhstan beat host Latvia 3-2 on Saturday in their opening game of the tournament.

Things didn’t pick up until the third period when both teams found the back of the net twice to force overtime and then the shootout.

Roman Starchenko netted the game winning goal for Kazakhstan.

“It was a tough game,” said Starchenko. “We haven’t played together for a couple of months, but we knew that Latvia had a hard game yesterday, they used up a lot of energy and emotion against Canada. So we knew we had to play active from the start, to take the game to them.”

Latvia faces Italy on Monday and Kazakhstan faces Finland on Sunday.

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Stephen Anderson 24, is a journalist, social media coordinator, host, and entertainment reporter. Anderson graduated in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in communication arts (journalism concentration) from the University of the Incarnate Word. He has worked with the San Antonio Rampage, Stars, and San Antonio Futbol Club. He was the host of the Project Spurs Roundtable on NBC affiliate News 4 San Antonio from 2015-17.

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