IIHF World Championship roundup: Latvia see off Slovakia after shootout, Canada victorious


IIHF World Championship roundup: Latvia see off Slovakia after shootout, Canada victorious

Austria recorded their second win at this year's championship
Austria recorded their second win at this year's championshipProfimedia
The United States of America hockey team defeated Kazakhstan 10-1 at the World Championship in Ostrava and are closing in on the quarter-finals for the fourth time. Matt Boldy (23) scored six points, Johnny Gaudreau (30) had five and Brady Tkachuk (24) had four, including a hat-trick.

The Kazakhs lost for the fifth time in a row and will face Poland on Monday to stay in the elite category, whilst Austria beat Norway 4-1 to move into fourth place in Group A with seven points - ahead of Finland, with whom they have a better record.

Later, Switzerland narrowly lost out to Canada 3-2, whilst Latvia came back from a goal down in the last minute of play to take a shootout win against Slovakia in Ostrava.

USA 10 Kazakhstan 1

The Americans decided the game in the first period. In the fifth minute, Matthew Boldy opened the scoring, finishing beyond goalkeeper Nikita Boyarkin's back with a shot off the bar. Then they made a quick breakthrough in the first power play, when Artyom Korolyov's exclusion was punished after eight seconds with another quick shot by Brady Tkachuk.

Boyarkin then stopped a Boldy breakaway, but he cashed in again in the 17th minute when he was beaten by Brock Nelson and Tkachuk for the second time during the powerplay where the US captain needed seven seconds. After that, the Kazakhs were lucky to survive the shorthanded period, but nothing changed in the game.

In the 22nd minute, a free Gavin Brindley added a fifth goal from a traditional goalmouth scramble and Boldy scored the sixth goal on another powerplay. Boyarkin managed to catch his shot in the trap, but a video check showed that it was behind the goal line. The Kazakhs survived another shorthanded period, but with the pressure continuing, most players couldn't make long substitutions and Luke Kunin increased the lead to 7-0 in the 32nd minute.

USA goalkeeper Alex Nedeljkovic seemed bored for a long time, but he still had to make several saves during his team's first shorthanded period and was helped by the stick on a shot by Yevgeni Rymarev. But Boyarkin had more work to do in this two-minute period as well.

Andrei Shutov came in for Boyarkin in the third period and although he made some good saves, he didn't stop a goal. Tkachuk beat him on the powerplay in the 46th minute and Kevin Hayes did the same 21 seconds later. After that, the Kazakhs got a goal as well, as Nedeljkovice were robbed of his second zero of the tournament by Alikhan Omirbekov. But Johnny Gaudreau had the last word.

The 30-year-old forward made American history, having already collected 43 points at the World Championship and surpassed Patrick Kane. He is also the best with 30 assists."It's cool. I found that out right after the game," smiled the Columbus forward, who is making his fifth championship start.

"It's something special and I'm really happy to play for the USA. Whenever I have the opportunity, it's an honor," Gaudreau noted, thanking his teammates with whom he was able to play for the national team. Nelson also made history, equaling the American high of Bruce Mather and Buzz Johnson with his 19th goal.

Norway 1 Austria 4

Lucas Thaler could have put Austria in front with a backhand finish early on before the Norwegians defended well when Sander Vold Engebraten was sent off midway through the opening period.

In the 17th minute of the game, on a Dominique Heinrich penalty, Mats Zuccarello offered a chance to Patrick Thoresen, but the puck got stuck to his skates and the Norwegian player could not finish. The Austrians didn't score late in the first period, even with Noah Steen in the penalty box.

At 28:14 on the clock, the Austrians had already used the powerplay when Johannes Johannesen was sent off. Schneider then took a shot from behind the left circle and put it over defenseman Christian Kasastul to the nearside of Henrik Haukeland's net.

Forty seconds later, coach Roger Bader's team increased their lead after a quick counterattack. A shot by Dominic Zwerger in a fight with Schneider was unluckily hooked between Haukeland's legs by Johannesen. In the 34th minute, Schneider scored for the second time in the game, beating Haukeland almost identically to the first goal.

At the turn of the second and third period, the Austrians defended for 56 seconds in a three-on-five situation, and Mario Huber got on a breakaway after returning from the penalty box, but Haukeland intervened with his stick. In the 49th minute, Steven Strong could have increased the lead for Austria when he hit the left post, but the puck flew off target.

Engebraten gave the Norwegians hope in the 54th minute on a powerplay after a Zuccarello pass, but Mario Huber sealed the deal at 57:24 on an Austrian powerplay into an empty net after a Zwerger bid.

Slovakia 2 Latvia 3 (after shootout)

The Slovaks were active and outplayed their opponents from the first minute in search of a possible fifth straight win at the tournament. But the Latvians were kept in check by goalkeeper Kristers Gudlevskis, who dealt with Martin Pospisil's and Tomas Tatar's chances in the first minute.

Slovakia had an ideal opportunity to take the lead in the first period, but they wasted three of them and confirmed that they are not doing well in front of goal during this World Championship. Only Poland has a worse record of using powerplays. Simon Nemec and Juarj Slafkovsky came closest to opening the scoring.

But the Latvians held on and in the 19th minute they struck from a quick counterattack through Ralfs Freibergs.

Gudlevskis made 20 saves in the opening period and had more to do after the break as Andrej Kudrna, Marko Dano and Peter Cehlarik couldn't overcome him. But the Latvians, who have beaten Slovakia in three of their last four meetings at the World Championship, were also bolder in attack. They threatened on the powerplay as Haralds Egle took a dangerous shot and then Janis Jaks hit the bar.

Libor Hudacek could have tied it at the beginning of the final period, but he didn't add to his tally of five goals goal of the tournament.

In the 43rd minute, Gudlevskis was outplayed by Pospisil, who was left alone in front of the Latvian goal and finished the attack coolly. However, the goal saw momentum shift to the Latvians and a number of dangerous attacks had to be solved by Slovak keeper Samuel Hlavaj.

Cehlarik, who took advantage of an ideal pass from Slafkovsky, changed the complexion of the game in the 59th minute with a smart goal from close range. But the Latvians managed to answer the Slovak goal in a flash and just 24 seconds later Oskars Cibulskis equalised. The match was then sent to overtime to decide a winner.

Latvia played two powerplays in the five-minute period, but the excellent Hlavaj held the scoreline at 2-2. The duel was decided by a shootout, in which the Latvians won. On the Slovak side only Slafkovsky was successful, on the Latvian side twice Dans Locmelis.

Switzerland 2 Canada 3

After 71 seconds, Switzerland's Christian Marti gave the Canadians a powerplay and they didn't waste the advantage to take an early lead. They only needed half a minute with Dylan Cozens opening the scoring. In the fifth minute, both teams went close to scoring. Canada's Connor Bedard couldn't find a way past Leonardo Genoni and Roman Josi's shot was saved by Jordan Binnington down the other end.

Jamie Oleksiak had to go to the penalty box midway through the period and the Swiss were successful on the powerplay as Kevin Fiala equalised. 

Oleksiak was penalised again at the start of the second period - the Swiss didn't use the power play, but Romain Loeffel sent them into the lead at the start of the 26th minute, taking perfect advantage of Binnington's obstructed vision.

Moments later, however, Fiala fouled Cozens with his knee and was given a five-minute penalty with five minutes left in the game, costing his team dearly.

It was Cozens who first equalized. Then Bedard stopped a Calvin Thurkauf breakaway at the cost of a foul, and the Swiss had a penalty shot, but Sven Andrighetto could only miss. 

In the 31st minute, the Canadians produced a perfect powerplay, with Nick Paul on the end of it, easily clearing the puck from close range into the net to give his team the lead.

Cozens could have increased the lead in the third period, but Genoni was equal to the task. The Swiss then played two powerplays in quick succession, but their opponents defended very diligently.

The Canadians allowed the Swiss only six shots between the sticks in the entire third period and survived their opponent's final powerplay to win the game.


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