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Men's World Championship Recap: Unpredictable Day to Close Out First Weekend

Canada and Switzerland remain perfect, Sweden won with a short lineup, France and Norway won important games and USA avoided total disaster against Austria on Day 3 of the World Hockey Championship.
2022 IIHF World Championship

Italy No Match for Canada Despite Early Lead

Canada is off to a perfect start after a weekend of play thanks to a 6-1 win over Italy on Sunday afternoon.

Despite being the favorite in the day's most lopsided matchup, Canada surrendered the first goal. Canadian-born Phil Pietroniro scored his first career World Championship goal after getting his shot through traffic past Chris Driedger for the surprising 1-0 goal.

That was, however, the only thing the team would end up cheering. At 15:50, Travis Sanheim's point shot beat Justin Fazio for the 1-1 goal, with Canada taking over from there. Josh Anderson, Nicolas Roy and Kent Johnson each scored to make it 4-1 before the end of the second, while Dysin Mayo and Noah Gregor scored one each in the third to make it 6-1.

Canada has won every meeting between the two teams in World Championship play, with Italy improving on a 7-1 loss from a year ago.

Norway Wins Thriller Against Great Britain

Norway's 3-0 lead evaporated in the final minutes of regulation, but Michael Haga's shootout winner helped preserve a two-point effort for Norway in the end.

For most of the game, the lead felt safe. Andreas Klavestad's marker at 16:13 was the lone goal of the third, while a pair of goals from Mathis Olimb extended the advantage to three heading into the end of the second period. 

Team GB, like they did against Czechia, seemed to turn on the jets late and at 52:51, they finally made some noise. Robert Dowd got the scoring started, with Brett Perlini adding one a minute later. The British side continued pushing the envelope and Mark Richardson forced the game into extra time after Perlini set him up in the slot.

Overtime solved nothing, so a shootout decided the game. Scott Conway scored for GB, but goals from Mathias Trettenes and Michael Haga meant Norway would escape with the extra point in a game they likely thought was over well in advance.

The guaranteed point was big one for Great Britain, who will likely  need a win against Austria on the second last day of competition to avoid relegation. That was especially important due to Austria taking the United States to overtime, gaining a point themselves.

France Takes Important Three Points Over Kazakhstan

In a battle that could set the stage for relegation, France managed to erase an early deficit to beat Kazakhstan 2-1.

It was a tight game, with Kazakhstan taking a 27-23 shot advantage. They scored first, with Valeri Orekhov's shot cleanly beating Henri Corentin Buysse for the icebreaker.

The advantage lasted until just after the halfway point in the game. Alexandre Texier's breakaway goal tied the game, showing the power of what being the only NHLer in the game can have in a match of this importance. France continued laying on the pressure and Florian Chakiachvili eventually gave France the lead, a 2-1 score that would last until the final buzzer.

France now has three points in two games, while Kazakhstan will likely have to beat Italy later in the tournament to avoid being relegated. With one team relegated from both groups, even a single regulation win goes a long way.

USA Narrowly Avoids Upset Against Austria

A few months ago, Austria wasn't even scheduled to play in this tournament. But the bans to Belarus and Russia allowed Austria an opportunity to play, and they'll take a 3-2 loss to the United States as a big accomplishment all things considering.

It was a rough first half for the United States, who were trailing 2-0 shortly after the halfway point in the game. Top 2022 NHL draft prospect Marco Kasper found Benjamin Nissner near the net at 14:25 for the opening goal, while Paul Huber's wrister beat Strauss Mann to make it 2-0 at 34:26. 

Just 17 seconds later, though, Kieffer Bellows – who had a good first game – scored from a tough angle on David Kickert for the 2-1 goal, giving USA some life. At 48:43, Adam Gaudette's wrist shot went perfectly under the bar to tie the game and force extra time. 

There, New Jersey Devils prospect Luke Hughes took Sean Farrell's pass and beat Kickert for the game-winner, avoiding what would have been the biggest upset of the tournament so far. 

Kickert, Austria's backup, was excellent with 36 stops in the best game of his World Championship career. Without him handling the pressure well in the second half, Austria may have not managed a point, which will be important in staying out of relegation talks.

Switzerland Rolls over Denmark

Switzerland joins Canad aas the only other perfect team in Group A after easily beating Denmark 6-0.

Fabrice Herzog scored the game's opening goal at 8:58 when his wrister went low on Frederik Dichow for the 1-0 goal. 

The game remained close until the second period, when Timo Meier scored the first of four Swiss goals in the middle stanza. Pius Suter scored four minutes on a tough angle shot before defenseman Janis Moser danced around an attacker at the blueline, skated in and beat Dichow. 

Philipp Kurashev's goal at 37:33 made it 5-0, enough to chase Dichow, a Canadiens prospect, out of the net in favor of Sebastian Dahm. Denis Malgin, who had three assists in the second period, helped finish things off with the lone goal of the third period, giving the Swiss its third power-play goal of the night and the final goal of a lopsided affair.

Sweden Beats Czech Republic Despite Rolling Three Lines

Playing back-to-back with just three full forward lines didn't seem to bother Sweden that badly as they'll improve to 2-0 with a 5-3 win over Czechia.

The game started off close, with David Krejci blasting a shot past Magnus Hellberg for the 1-0 goal at 6:03. Many believed Sweden would have a tough time with just 18 out of a possible 20 dressed players after playing on Saturday, but Rasmus Asplund's goal at 19:24 gave Sweden a bit of life heading into the first break.

A three-goal second period helped Sweden move to a big lead. Emil Bemstrom, Mathias Brome and Asplund for a second time scored a goal each in a six-minute span, with Bemstrom's goal coming on a two-man advantage, to put the seemingly out of reach for Czechia. 

That was until Tomas Kundratek's blast on the power play with 37:36 went in, making it 4-2 heading into the final period of play. 

The team's traded goals about 30 seconds apart, with Sweden's Anton Bengtsson scoring at 44:50 and Matej Blumel tallying his third of the tournament at 45:19.

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Three Stars

1. Denis Malgin, F (SUI): A goal and three assists helped make Switzerland's night that much more enjoyable.

2. Rasmus Asplund, F (SWE): With a depleted lineup, Sweden needed someone to step up and create the offense. With two goals, Asplund did just that.

3. David Kickert, G (AUT): Even with a younger American lineup, there was no reason for Austria to stay that close, and even lead. Kickert was spectacular. 

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