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Men's World Championship Roundup: Quarterfinal Race Heats Up After Electric Friday

Finland, Germany, Latvia and Slovakia were all victorious on a Friday that helped set the stage for a crazy final few days of round-robin play at the World Championship.
2022 IIHF World Championship

Finland Shuts Out GB In Dominant Effort

Finland outmuscled Great Britain in a one-sided effort, taking the victory by a score of 6-0.

Finland now has a two-point advantage over Sweden for the top spot in Group B with a game in hand. Great Britain will need a miracle to prevent being relegated for 2023 after both Austria and Latvia recorded points in an overtime contest.

The game wasn't particularly close, with Finland outshooting their opponents 42-10. Niklas Friman and Juuso Hietanen made it 2-0 for Finland by the 11:38 mark of the game, forcing a British team that needed a lucky bounce to go their way to fight for their lives.

A pair of second-period goals prevented that from being a reality. Valtteri Filppula scored at 26:40, and Montreal Canadiens forward Joel Armia scored two minutes later to make it 4-0 on a pair of even-strength markers. Saku Manalanen and Toni Rajala continued the pressure and made it 6-0, with Jussi Olkinuora stopping all 10 shots sent his direction for the shutout.

Germany Scores Nine in Big Win Over Italy

The final score didn't reflect the dominance Germany had for most of its game against Italy, eventually taking a 9-4 win.

The win puts Germany comfortably in a quarterfinal spot with 12 points in five games. Italy will need to, at the very least, beat Kazakhstan in the final game to avoid relegation.

Alexander Karachun, Kai Wissmann, Yasin Ehliz and Daniel Fischbuch all scored in the opening period, scoring on four of the 10 shots sent towards a combo of Davide Fadani and Justin Fazio. Fazio took over after the third goal and made 16 saves on 22 shots, while Fadani made just one save on four shots against.

Italy scored its first goal of the game at 25:37 with a Tommaso Traversa marker, but it was sandwiched by goals for Germany's Lukas Reichel and Fischbuch.

Ehliz and Karachun both scored their second goals of the game in the third, but a strong effort from Italy made the score a little closer than many expected heading into the final stanza. Luca Frigo, Daniel Mantenuto and Alex Petan all scored to give Italy four goals, while Samuel Soramies' first national team goal at 57:04 finished Germany's output for a 9-4 final score.

Latvia's Strong Shootout Lifts Team to Win Over Austria

In one of the best game of the tournament, Latvia edged out Austria 4-3 with a shootout victory.

The win was important for Latvia, who sits fifth place in Group B with five points. Czechia currently has the last playoff spot with seven points with just four games played.

Austria's extra point will give them an edge if their game on Monday against Great Britain goes to overtime, but the work is far from over. 

The two teams traded goals on five occasions in the second period after a scoreless opening 20. Benjamin Nissner finally broke the deadlock 1:10 into the middle stanza for Austria's first lead of the game. It didn't last long, though, as Rudolf Balcers and Rihards Bukarts scored twice before the halfway point to make it 2-1 Latvia.

That lead didn't last long, either. Two minutes later, Dominuq Heinrich scored to make 2-2, but Balcers answered back with his second of the night at 35:40. 

Austria started to get creative, and at 46:21, they tied it up again. With Thomas Raffl standing in front of the net, he tipped Kilian Zundel's shot in front and made it 3-3, forcing an explosive end to an exciting day of hockey.

In the shootout, Latvia had the last laugh. Nikolajs Jelisejevs and Roberts Bukarts put pressure on Austira to score, and Heinrich did.

 Unfortunately for the Austrians, Brian Lebler was stopped by Arturs Silovs on the final attempt to give Latvia the win and the important second point in the race to keep in the running for a Group B playoff spot.

Kazakhstan Dealt Heartbreaker Against Slovakia

At one point, Kazakhstan was ahead of Slovakia and looked poised to have the advantage in the relegation race against Italy.

Instead, Slovakia rallied back for a 4-3 win, leaving Kazakhstan as the lone team without a point after five games played.

Slovakia started strong with an Andrej Kollar goal at 12:12. But goals for Kirill Panyukov and Dmitri Shevchenko in a two-minute span to close out the first gave Kazakhstan the lead, and one with a ton of momentum in a game they had a deep chance of winning.

Unfortunately for them, a trio of goals for Slovakia killed any chance of that. Martin Fehervary and Adam Liska scored a goal each on a five-minute penalty before Juraj Slafkovsky scored a penalty shot for Slovakia to make it 4-2, marking the eventual game-winner.

Kazakhstan was dangerous in the third, and a goal from Kirill Panyukov made it 4-3. Kazakhstan played its best hockey in the third but Slovakia's Adam Huska stood his ground and gave his team the win to secure three points and keep them in the fight with Denmark for the final spot in Group A.


News & Notes

- William Nylander will join Sweden's team this week to give the squad a full 25-man roster. Nylander had an outstanding tournament in 2019, recording a whopping 18 points in just eight games to lead the entire tournament.


Three Stars

1. Rudolfs Balcers, F (LAT): Those goals for Latvia were huge, and could mean the difference if the team moves on to the quarterfinal.

2. Lukas Reichel, F (GER): A ton of Germans could have appeared here, but Reichel's three points in his debut were important.

3. Harri Pesonen, F (FIN): Lots of standouts for Finland, but Pesonen was good with and without the puck and helped set up two goals.


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