IIHF World Championship Day 3: USA dominates Canada in ‘Battle of North America’

Team USA
Photo via IIHF.com.

Day three 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

Slovakia 2, Great Britain 1

Slovakia is now 2-0 in preliminary round play after a 2-1 win over Great Britain on Sunday. With the win, Slovakia stands atop Group A.

Marek Hrivik found the net in the first period on an assist from Robert Lantosi, and Slovakia sealed it with a second-period goal by Lantosi.

While Great Britain could not get much done offensively aside from one goal, goalie Ben Bowns made 41 saves

“They had a great goalie at the other end and it was really hard to score on them. They were blocking everything and we were really happy that we could win it,” Lantosi said.

In the early game this morning, Slovakia got yet another win, defeating Russia. Look for the game recap on that later tonight as we recap all of Monday’s action.

Belarus 1, Sweden 0

The match between Sweden and Belarus was tight and seemed destined for an extra period until Belarus’ German Nesterov scored in the final period at the 40:33 mark.

“Up to now, it’s the most important goal I’ve scored,” the forward said. “We wanted to go out and play hard in that third period. Mikhail Stefanovich gave me a pass and I had almost an empty net.”

For Nesterov, it was the first goal ever for Belarus and it just happened to be a game-winner. Goalie Danny Taylor also did his part with 32 saves

Belarus is now 1-1, while Sweden is still looking for their first win with an 0-2 start.

Switzerland 1, Denmark 0

A day after Switzerland bested the Czech Rebublic 5-2, they picked up their second win of the tournament in a 1-0 win over Denmark.

Switzerland’s defense was on display as they limited Denmark’s shots on goal to just four.

“We played very well on defence,” head coach Patrick Fischer said. “We only scored one goal but in the end it’s a win. We knew that the mindset is important, that we need to be ready and needed to stay calm. We knew it would be a tight game and we worked well in both directions for 60 minutes.”

Their one goal came early in the game as Timo Meir scored his third goal of the tournament. The Swiss now take on Sweden on Tuesday as Denmark looks to pick up a win against Great Britain.

Group B

Norway 4, Italy 1

The Italians’ struggles continued on Sunday. In their first game, they lost 9-4 to Germany and Norway had no problem scoring goals in a 4-1 win.

Norway scored in every period and had two goals in the second period. By the time the Italians found the net, the game was over.

Norway forward Mathias Trettenes scored a hat-trick for Norway with three goals in the game.

“I was lucky to have one this season in Switzerland but I don’t usually get three goals in a game,” Trettenes said after the game. “I think we managed the puck better, we trusted our game plan, we executed and stayed on the right side.Today was better intensity and now we move on to the next game.”

Norway’s next game is on Tuesday against Finland, while Italy is still winless after a Monday morning shutout to Latvia.

Kazakhstan 2, Finland 1 (Shootout)

The Kazakhs pulled off an upset over highly-touted Finland on Sunday at Arena Riga.

After both teams managed just one point apiece in all three periods and overtime, it went to a shootout, where Nikita Mikhailis came up big with the shootout goal.

It was Kazakhstan’s first win ever over Finland and the team is starting to come through in the clutch as they have no had two consecutive wins via a shootout.

“We’re feeling pretty good,” said Kazakhstan’s Curtis Valk. “Both games were hard-fought games and our goalie obviously played amazing today. We’re going to need that going forward, but we stuck to the game plan, and that let us be successful tonight.”

Kazakhstan has another tough matchup ahead as they face off against the United States on Tuesday. Finland will take on Norway.

USA 5, Canada 1

Canada was looking for their first tournament win on Sunday after being shocked in a 2-0 loss to Latvia on the opening day of the IIHF World Championship.

Unfortunately for Canada, the Battle of North America went to the United States as they scored five goals, including three in the second period, and only managed one in the third period to lose their second game, as they start 0-2 for the first time.

Backup goalie Jake Oettinger came up big in the match, stopping 26 of 27 shots on goal after he entered the game.

On offense, USA was led by Trevor Moore, who had two goals in the second period.

“It’s a huge win,” Moore said. “Any time that you play a U.S.-Canada game you want to be on the right side of it, especially for a USA player.”

With the win, the USA is now 1-1 in preliminary round play and play Kazakhstan tomorrow. The Canadians will look for their first win later today in a match against Germany.

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