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Men's World Championship Roundup: Tight Games Aplenty

Sweden and Switzerland are still looking strong, while Norway and France both scored big wins, in Wednesday's World Championship action in Finland.

Sweden Takes Top Spot in Group B With Win Over Finland

It's always tight when Finland and Sweden meet up internationally, and Wednesday's shootout affair was no different thanks to a 3-2 win for Sweden.

The scoring started at 11:38. Seattle Kraken defenseman Adam Larsson made it 1-0 when he grabbed the disk near the net and scored on a wraparound on Harri Sateri to make it 1-0 Sweden. 

At 23:38, Mikko Lehtonen answered back with a one-timer from Mikko Lehtonen, and Sami Vatanen gave Finland the 2-1 lead at 25:39 when he rushed in and knocked Lehtonen's feed past Magnus Hellberg. 

Finland had the advantage until 46:38 when Joel Kellman knocked in a shot from Erik Gustafsson to make it 2-2, breathing some new life into an exciting evening contest.

The game required a shootout to decide the winner, and only one player found the back of the net. Emil Bemstrom's shot on Sweden's second attempt was the difference-maker, moving Sweden into first place in Group B with a 3-1-0-0 record through four games.

Switzerland Remains Perfect With Fourth-Straight Win

Switzerland is hoping to make another Cinderella run this year, and a 4-0 run in Group A play is a good way to start following a 5-3 win over Slovakia.

Switzerland is the only team to have a perfect record in regulation after four games played, with Canada sitting second in Group A with a 3-0-0-0 record.

It didn't take long for Switzerland to get things going. After Pius Suter stole the puck off of a Slovakian defender, Denis Malgin broke in alone and scored a shorthanded goal to make it 1-0 just 52 seconds in. 

Milos Roman wasn't too thrilled with that and answered back at 10:33 after Slovakia started to find their legs. At 23:56, Dominik Egli reverted the lead back in Switzerland's favor, only for Juraj Slafkovsky to score on a snipe at 25:32 to make it 2-2.

From there, though, it was the Switzerland show. San Jose Sharks forward Timo Meier scored at 32:59 and Nico Hischier scored with 15 minutes to go to make it 4-2 before playing strong shutdown hockey the rest of the way.

Slovakia had a nice buzz in the final 15 minutes, and Samuel Takac made it 4-3 at 49:07 to force a late-game battle. Unfortunately for the Slovaks, Fabrice Herzog's empty-netter in the final minute ended Slovakia's hopes while handing Switzerland the 5-3 win.

French Comeback Scores Huge Extra Point Over Italy

France has all but confirmed its spot in the 2023 World Hockey Championship after a comeback 2-1 win in overtime over Italy.

It was an important win for France who, with five points now, look rather safe with Italy and Kazakhstan sitting at the bottom of the Group A standings. Italy's hopes of staying in the top division will likely come down to Monday's affair against Kazakhstan, who have yet to grab a point.

Italy's lone goal came at 14:42 when Luca Frigo stole the puck off a French defender and scored on a shorthanded rush and beat Henri Corentin Buysse for the 1-0 goal.

France tried everything they could to tie it up, and with 1:07 left in regulation, they got it. With the extra attacker, Sacha Treille somehow found a hole past Andreas Bernard for the tying goal to force overtime, while securing at least one point for both teams. Just 1:04 into the extra frame, Tim Bozon won a puck battle behind the net and set up Hugo Gallet, who scored all alone to win the game and give France a valuable extra point.

Norway Scores First Regulation Win

Austria's miracle run hit a snag in the road after dropping a 5-3 decision to Norway.

For Norway, it gives them five points and temporary control of fourth in Group B with a game in hand over Czechia. Austria, who beat Czechia and stole a point from the United States, sits seventh out of eight teams in Group B, but still standing above Great Britain.

Despite the eventual loss, Austria scored first. Dominique Heinrich's shot would catch Norweigan goaltender Henrik Haukeland off guard at 6:48 to open the scoring. Less than a minute later, Mats Rosseli Olsen answered back on a short-handed play after he stole the puck from an Austrian defender and scored all alone. 

The game remained tied until 20:55, when former NHLer Andreas Martinsen scored after the crease was crowded by some incidental contact, giving Norway its first lead of the game. The lead didn't last long, as Lukas Haudum's wrister beat a screened Haukeland for a 2-2 goal. 

Five minutes later, Martin Roymark's shot bounced off a pair of sticks and past David Kickert for the go-ahead goal. The momentum continued, and a two-man advantage at 47:32 resulted in Rosseli Olsen scoring his second of the game, marking the game-winner. Peter Schneider brought the game close again with a 4-3 power-play goal for under four minutes to go, but Martin Ronnild's empty-netter -- his first World Championship goal -- with 13 seconds left put an end to the game.

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- Germany has added AHLers Leon Gawanke and Lukas Reichel to the team, and they'll suit up later in the tournament.

- Finland's Saku Maenalanen was supsended for Finland's game agaisnt Sweden after boarding Jaycob Megna on Monday.

- Los Angeles Kings forward Carl Grundstrom and Dallas Stars winger Jacob Peterson have been added to Sweden's lineup after the team elected to play shorthanded early on. Both played against Finland on Wednesday.

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Three Stars

1. Pius Suter, F (SUI): With three assists, including two primary, Suter was a big reason why Switzerland beat Slovakia 5-3.

2. Mats Rosseli Olsen, F (NOR): Rosseli scored two goals -- including the game-winner -- and an assist in a 5-3 win for Norway against a determined Austrian squad.

3. Andreas Bernard, G (ITA): A second straight appearance for Benard after making 34 stops and keeping things close. He was perfect until the final minute of regulation.

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