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World Championship Roundup: Upsets Galore in Crazy Sunday

In a tournament dominated by upsets, Belarus and Kazakhstan defeated two of the tournament heavyweights for two of the biggest victories for their respective nations. Plus, Canada loses again, Switzerland and Slovakia stay strong and more.
IIHF men's world championship

USA Wins as Canada's Struggles Continue

Considered a pre-tournament favorite to win gold, Canada has yet to score a goal at the World Championship following a 5-1 loss to the United States on Sunday.

The loss comes two days after Canada was shut out 2-0 by Latvia in the host's first-ever victory against the Canadians. USA bounced back in a big way after losing 2-1 to Finland, a game in which a couple of bad bounces prevented the Americans from taking the victory. 

Canada will try and rebound against Germany on Monday, a team that has a perfect record thus far after two games.

Jason Robertson's strong tournament continued in the first period. After scoring USA's only goal against Finland, Robertson made it 1-0 after Darcy Kuemper gave the puck away behind the net to his usual Arizona Coyotes teammate Conor Garland. Robertson was there to retrieve the pass and tapped the puck in easily on the empty net. 

At 1:19 in the second period, Adam Clendening's first men's national team goal put USA up by two. Clendening's point shot made it cleanly through traffic, beating a screened Kuemper on the play. Two minutes later, Trevor Moore got his first of two goals after Robertson set him up on a quick pass in the slot, and he added one more with 1:40 left to play before the second intermission - ending Kuemper's run in favor of Adin Hill.

USA was forced to make a goalie change early in the contest. After just 4:58 of play in his first men's national team game, Anthony Stolarz was pulled after injuring his right leg trying to get over to make a stop, forcing him to leave the game in favor of Jake Oettinger. Oettinger only allowed a late goal to Maxime Comtois, but Matt Tennyson would score late to restore the four-goal advantage to finish off the scoring.

Belarus Shuts Out Sweden for Shocking Upset

A day after losing to Denmark for the first time in tournament history, Sweden has once again fallen in dramatic fashion in the nation's first World Championship loss to Belarus - a 1-0 victory for the underdogs.

It's the second time Belarus has beaten Sweden in a major international competition, with Belarus claiming victory in a quarter-final match at the 2002 Olympics to create one of the craziest upsets in international hockey history. 

The loss on Sunday isn't at the same standard, but it'll sting equally as bad for the Swedes, who fall to 0-2 to teams much further down the IIHF rankings.

Sweden was the better team through 20 minutes, outshooting their opponents 11-4. Belarus had an 11-10 edge in the second period, but both Taylor and Adam Reiderborn were perfect in their respective nets. 

It wasn't until German Nesterov found the back of the net 33 seconds into the third period that the scoreboard would see a change, a lead that lasted until the final buzzer. Taylor made a couple of big stops later in the game for 32 total, giving Belarus one of the most unlikely victories in recent tournament history.

Kazakhstan Stays Perfect in Shootout

Kazakhstan hasn't led a single minute of regulation play, but that doesn't matter as they improve to 2-0 after beating Finland in the shootout 2-1.

Just a day after beating Latvia for the first time ever, Kazakhstan pulled off the same fate against a much stronger Finnish team that beat USA 2-1 on Friday afternoon. The win makes Kazakhstan one of the top teams through three days of action, a big moment considering the team spent the past three tournaments down in Division IA.

The game started positively for Finland, with Anton Lundell tallying the game's first goal at 33:24. But a penalty a minute later to Petri Kontiola put Kazakhstan on the man advantage and they made the Finns pay. At 35:56, Kirill Panyukov used the extra space and beat Finnish netminder Harri Sateri to tie it up. 

Kazakhstan's Nikita Boyarkin was spectacular for Kazakhstan, stopping 50 of the 51 shots sent his way. He came up big in the shootout too when, saving the final two shots in the skills competition after Nikita Mikhailis scored the shootout winner to secure the win - marking the team's best start they've ever had.

GB Puts up a Fight, but Slovakia Stays Perfect

It was a much better result than the 7-1 loss to Russia on Saturday but it wasn't ideal regardless as Great Britain lost its second game of the tournament 2-1 to Slovakia.

Slovakia remains perfect after beating Belarus 5-2 on Friday evening in Riga. 

It took Slovakia just 25 seconds to score the game's first goal. Marek Hrivik got the rebound opportunity after Martin Gernat and Robert Lantosi came up short around the net. Slovakia had a 17-2 shot advantage in the opening period and looked in pure control, but Ben Bowns stood tall to give his team a chance. 

Bowns' heroics in the first paid off and the British were able to pot another goal. Liam Kirk, the team's goalscorer in Game 1, tied the game up at one apiece, but the lead wouldn't last for long. Two minutes later, Lantosi got one of his own to reward his line for a hard-working effort, giving Slovakia the 2-1 lead - an advantage that would never waver before the final buzzer.

While the win was important for Slovakia, the team still managed to lose a key member of the lineup. Branislav Konrad suffered a leg injury in the first period and was replaced by Julius Hudacek at the intermission and did not return.

"Konrad has a problem," Slovakian coach Craig Ramsay said after the game. "He hurt himself, it's a bit hard for him to move and push right now. If a goalie cannot push 100% with his legs, it's very difficult. We'll get him his treatment and see how long it takes."

Timo Meier Leads Swiss to Victory

Denmark wasn't able to build on the momentum of the team's big 4-3 victory over Sweden on Saturday, losing 1-0 to Switzerland to finish off the weekend.

San Jose Sharks forward Timo Meier scored the game's lone goal in the first period, beating Sebastian Dahm with a wrist shot after Nico Hischier made a couple of quick moves to evade a defender before making the pass.

Switzerland improves to 2-0 after beating the Czech Republic 4-2 on Saturday. Switzerland moves into a three-wide tie with Russia and Slovakia in Group A as the team looks to win its third medal in the past decade.

For Denmark, the effort was one to forget. The Danes had just four shots all game, including one in the third period. It was a far cry from the effort that saw them win against Sweden, but it's still early in the tournament and the team will get an off day before returning to action.

Norway Too Strong for Italy

The Italians put in a valiant effort, but it didn't matter much as Norway skated to a 4-1 victory on Sunday afternoon. 

Mathias Trettenes was the star of the game, scoring three goals on just four shots to record a hat-trick. He started the fun at 10:04 and again at 36:01 and 40:59. Matias Rosseli Olsen scored the team's power-play marker at 25:15 to make it 2-0 before Trettens added his two goals to make it 4-0.

Daniel Frank scored Italy's lone goal at 51:55 to give them something to cheer for, but it was way too late in the going to make a difference. Justin Fazio played a good game for Italy, stopping 35 of the 39 shots sent his way after a rough contest against Germany on Friday.


Three Stars

1. Nikita Boyarkin, G (KAZ): A whopping 50-save effort against Finland. Hard to believe he'll ever play a better game in his hockey career.

2. Mathias Trettenes, F (NOR): A huge hat-trick for a team that needed someone to step up. 

3. Ben Bowns, G (GB): A strong 41-save effort gave the British a great chance to win. Just couldn't seal the deal, but his legendary status at this tournament continues.


May 24 Schedule

Slovakia vs. Russia - 9:15 AM ET
Latvia vs. Italy - 9:15 AM ET
Czech Republic vs. Belarus - 1:15 PM ET
Canada vs. Germany - 1:15 PM ET


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