BERN, Switzerland – Latvia scored a shootout win over Sweden on Monday for the first major upset at the IIHF World Hockey Championship.
Tied 2-2 after overtime, Aleksandrs Nizivijs put Latvia ahead 3-2 in the shootout and Latvia goalie Edgars Masalskis made a pad save on Magnus Johansson,
Sweden outshot Latvia 40-21 but could not put away a determined opponent roared on by its noisy, drum-wielding supporters.
In the 11 previous meetings between the two, Latvia’s best result was a tie.
Sweden still advances to the second round with a point earned in the loss, while Latvia must avoid defeat in regulation time against Austria on Wednesday.
In other action Monday, the U.S. defeated Austria 6-1, the Czechs beat Norway 5-2 and Finland downed Denmark 5-1. All three winners advanced to the 12-team qualification round, which begins Thursday.
Sweden went ahead at 15:26 of the first perdiod through Linus Omark, who had five assists Saturday in a 7-1 win over the Austrians.
IKrisjanis Redlihs, one of 14 Dinamo Riga players playing for Latvia, tied it up with a slapshot high to the glove side of goalie Stefan Liv. And the Latvians moved ahead 2-1 at 19:15 of the second period when Lauris Darzins tapped home a pass by the Redlihs younger brother, Mikelis.
Sweden tied it 44 seconds into the third, on Johansson’s power-play slapshot from just inside the offensive blue-line.
Atlanta Thrashers defenceman Tobias Enstrom hit the goalpost and then had to leave with a bloody face and apparent shoulder injury from a collision on the boards with Martins Karsums.
In five minutes of overtime, Sweden dominated possession but Latvia had the clearest chance which Martins Ciplius fired wide.
U.S. 6 Austria 1
Forwards Dustin Brown, Drew Stafford, Patrick O’Sullivan, Jason Blake and Lee Stempniak and defenceman Matt Niskanenl scored for the Americans
American goalie Robert Esche, a former NHLer playing in Russia, made 25 saves for his second win of the tournament.
Czech Republic 5 Norway 2
Jan Marek, Petr Cajanek and Josef Vasicek scored in the first 13 minutes to give the Czechs a commanding 3-0.
Norway replaced goaltender Pal Grotnes with Andre Lysenstoen to start the second period and closed the gap to 4-2 with goals from Tommy Jakobsen and Mats Zuccarello Assen.
Miroslav Blatak and Jakub Klepis closed out the Czech scoring.
Finland 5 Denmark 1
Antti Miettinen and Niko Kapanen each scored twice for the Finns, who also got a goal from Tuomas Pihlman. Julian Jakobsen scored for Denmark.
Denmark now must beat Norway on Wednesday to progress to the second round.