Olympic champions Canada regained top spot in the Helsinki group of the world ice hockey championship here on Wednesday following a tight 3-2 win over Switzrland.
New York Islanders center John Tavares and Edmonton Oilers Jordan Eberle both collected a goal and an assist, while Canadian goalie Cam Ward picked an assist and produced 28 saves to add all three points to their team’s balance.
The Swiss started in a brave mood and clinched the lead at 1:40 as Goran Bezina’s pass from the blue line slid through the traffic to Damien Brunner, who swept it into an unguarded post.
Canada replied positively and began peppering Swiss goalie Tobias Stephan with shots to clinch a 2-1 lead after Tavares and Eberle both scored.
Bezina pulled the scores level 3:49 into the third but Canada skipper Ryan Getzlaf netted his team’s winning goal firing the puck into the net with a slap shot after beating Swiss defence on a breakaway with 11:58 to go.
“When we face Switzerland at the world championships it’s always a hard-fought tough game,” Canada’s manager Brent Sutter said.
“The Swiss team opened the game with a well-structured hockey playing with great discipline. We came back with early goals in the second and third and it helped us a great deal to win the match.”
Meanwhile, in Stockholm the event’s co-hosts Sweden outscored 5-2 Germany to remain their group’s table-toppers with four wins in as many matches.
Chicago Blackhawks center Marcus Kruger gave Sweden an early lead scoring 1:17 into the first period when he sent home a rebound from just outside the crease.
Germany poured into attack seeking the equaliser and their left winger Philip Gogulla levelled just before the first intermission scoring on Kai Hospelt’s pass.
But in the second period the Swedes stepped us a gear, scoring twice through Chicago Blackhawks forward Viktor Stalberg and Ottawa Senators blueliner Erik Karlsson who gave their team a comfortable 3-1 lead.
Germany’s Patrick Reimer narrowed the gap with 3:02 remaining in the second period but Niklas Persson restored Sweden’s two-goal lead 2:30 into the third, while Detroit Red Wings’ right wing Johan Franzen finalised the scoring at 48:32.
In the early match at Helsinki, 2002 champions Slovakia boosted their chances for a quarter-final spot with a hard-fought 4-2 win over Kazakhstan.
The Slovaks got off to a flying start as their rear guard Dominik Granak sent the puck home just 1:08 into the match.
But Kazakhstan winger Yevgeni Rymarev levelled 10 minutes later when he skated behind Slovakia’s net to sweep the puck in between goaltender Jan Laco’s pad and the left post.
Libor Hudacek restored the Slovaks’ lead with a powerplay goal 2:11 remaining in the second period but Konstantin Pushkaryov levelled again 3:15 into the third.
Florida Panthers right winger Tomas Kopecky finally scored the winning goal with 11:52 remaining. He than made it 4-2 for Slovaks with his second of the match with just 13sec to go.
“We were the favourites for the first time at the event but this role seems to be no good for us,” said Slovak manager Vladimir Vujtek.
“We didn’t play well and it was very difficult for us to battle through Kazakhstan’s defence. We had to do much more than we expected for three points today.”
In the Stockholm group’s early match Norway upset Italy 6-2 to move up from the last place of their group.
Matts Trygg netted a double, while Patrick Thoresen, Marius Holtet, Anders Bastiansen and Per-Age Skroder added one apiece for Norway, while Luca Ansoldi and Alexander Egger were on target for Italy.