Defending champ Sweden, Russia win at worlds

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MINSK, Belarus (AP) - Defending champion Sweden prevailed in a shootout to edge the Czech Republic 4-3 at the ice hockey world championship on Sunday and Russia handed Finland a 4-2 defeat for its second straight win.

Germany and Norway also made it two wins in two games, while France failed to build on its upset victory over Canada as it lost 2-1 to Italy.

Joakim Lindstrom scored the winning penalty for Sweden when he found the space between the pads of Alexander Salak.

The Czechs took the lead after just eight seconds when Tomas Hertl beat Swedish goaltender Anders Nilsson, and were up 3-1 in the second period. Jiri Hudler scored on a power play and Ondrej Nemec also had a goal for the Czechs.

Sweden tied it for 1-1 in the first through Oscar Moller, who scored again on a power play to reduce the Czech lead to 3-2 in the second. Lindstrom made it 3-3 on a power play in the third to force overtime.

In another attacking display, Viktor Tikhonov and Alex Ovechkin put Russia 2-0 up less than 5 minutes into the first period. Juuso Hietanen pulled one back for Finland, but Nikolai Kulyomin scored a short-handed breakaway goal and Sergei Kalinin made it 4-1 in the second.

“We had fast goals which gave us confidence,” Russia coach Oleg Znarok said.

Jere Karalahti scored the second goal for Finland.

Finnish forward Pekka Jormakka left the ice on the stretcher after receiving a big hit from Vadim Shipachyov in the second period.

Finland coach Erkka Westerlund said Jormakka was taken to a hospital for exams.

Germany beat Latvia 3-2 after Thomas Oppenheimer scored the winner on a penalty in the third period.

Germany took the lead with goals from Marcel Noebels and Frank Mauer but Georgijs Pujacs and Mikelis Redlihs helped Latvia come back each time.

Norway held off Denmark 4-3 after rallying from an early 2-0 deficit. Morten Poulsen and Frederik Storm had given the Danes the lead with two goals in 20 seconds, before Norway rallied with goals from Jonas Holos, Ken Andre Olimb, Per-Age Skroder and Mats Trygg. Jannik Hansen pulled one back for Denmark.

Host Belarus earned its first win of the tournament by beating Kazakhstan 4-1. Kazakstan took the lead through Andrei Gavrilin, but Andrei Stepanov equalized and then set up Nikolai Stasenko for the winner in the second period in front of 15,000 roaring and jumping home fans. Sergei Kostitsy added a short-handed goal in the third and captain Alexei Kalyuzhny scored the fourth into an empty net.

Russia has six points in Group B, Germany has five after two matches while Latvia and Belarus have three each and Kazakhstan has one. Finland

“I have to be happy with my team’s performance,” Germany coach Pat Cortina said. “That was a step into the right direction after yesterday.”

Markus Gander gave Italy its first victory of the tournament by scoring the winner with 58 seconds remaining against France.

“It was great to get our first win and get our confidence going,” Italy coach Tom Pokel said.

Norway has six points in Group A, followed by Sweden on five while the Czechs and Italy, a newcomer to the top division, have three points, France is on two and Denmark has zero.

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