World Championship Roundup: Canada Finally Victorious, Kazakhstan Pulls Off Upset, British Celebrate

Canada has finally taken a win at the 2021 World Championship after an eventual bout with Norway. Plus, Kazakhstan and Great Britain win big games and Russia shuts out Denmark.
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IIHF men's world championship

Canada Grabs First Win of Tournament

After disappointing losses to Germany, Latvia and the United States, Canada has finally won its first game of the tournament after beating Norway 4-2 on Wednesday.

The win moves Canada to sixth in Group B, four points behind Latvia, Finland and Kazakhstan for the final spot in the quarter-finals. Canada jumps over Norway in terms of a tie-breaker, with Canada's win being used as the decider.

It started well for Canada just 22 seconds into the contest. Connor Brown would get credit for the goal after redirecting the puck past the goal line with his foot, but Norweigan goaltender Henrik Haukeland knocked the puck with left skate to negate what otherwise would have been a waved-off goal. Ten minutes later, Adam Henrique scored one after Brown was stopped, with Henrique getting stoned himself before making a move around Haukeland's left pad for the 2-0 goal.

Canada dominated the chances in the game, holding a 39-9 shot advantage after 40 minutes - but only a 3-2 lead. At 29:08. Thomas Valvae Olsen got a shot through Darcy Kuemper's legs and in for the 2-1 goal. On the next shot, Mats Rosseli Olsen redirected Max Krogdahl's shot from along the boards past Kuemper, making it 2-2. The goal was reviewed as kicking the puck in is against the rules, but the goal would stand. 

Andrew Mangiapane, in his first game with Canada after a quarantine period, scored late in the period to move ahead on the scoreboard again. Henrique would score another goal at 10:14 in the third to finish off the scoring, although Brandon Hagel would have a goal taken away with five minutes to go in the game.

Great Britain Beats Belarus for First Time

It was the first meeting between the two nations at the World Championship and Great Britain can claim it took the win in spectacular fashion after beating Belarus 4-3 on Wednesday evening.

The win is Great Britain's first of the tournament after surviving relegation back in 2019. The win continues the incredible wheel of randomness that has caused chaos in Riga, as Belarus was able to beat Sweden earlier in the tournament and stole a point off the Czech Republic to give them four thus far. Every team has now won at least one game in Group A, although the Czech Republic is the only team to not win in regulation. 

Liam Kirk was the star of the night, scoring two goals, including the opening marker. The Arizona Coyotes prospect would score the 3-1 goal later in the game too and was generally one of the best players after scoring the team's first two goals earlier in the tournament. Vladislav Kodola scored Belarus' first goal at 9:15 to give the team a bit of life, but Ben Davies and Kirk would score to make it 3-1 in the second. 

When Mike Hammond scored early in the third period to make it 4-1, the game looked over. But North American ex-pats Geoff Platt and Shane Prince scored to make it 4-3 late in the game, leading to an onslaught of Belarusian chances. Ben Bowns was up for the challenge as the time ticked down to zero, giving Great Britain a big victory to keep the team's quarter-final hopes alive.

Kazakhstan Beats Germany for First Time in 16 Years

It may not be one of the biggest upsets we've seen at the World Championship, but it's a big one for Kazakhstan as the country beat Germany 3-2 in a thrilling game on Wednesday afternoon.

The win was the first time that Kazakhstan was able to beat Germany since 2005 after taking the game 2-1. The teams are tied 2-2 in terms of World Championship results dating back to 2004, with Kazakhstan spending much of the time since then bouncing between Division IA and the top group.

The victory puts Kazakhstan back into a temporary playoff spot in Group B, sitting in a three-way tie with Latvia and Finland. The game marks Germany's first loss of the tournament, falling to 3-0-0-1, but keeping control of first place in Group B with nine points. That leaves Slovakia as the only team to win every game so far, taking all three contests they've it has played in Group A.

Kazakhstan has never finished higher than 12th at the top World Championship tournament, but the win puts them in good standing moving forward.

Nobody scored in the opening period of play, but Kazakhstan did strike first in the second. Alexander Shin would break the ice with a quick slap shot, beating Matthias Niederberger for the go-ahead goal. Tom Kuhnhackl answered back three minutes later for a slap-shot goal of his own, blasting by Nikita Boyarkin for the up-high shot to make it 1-1. 

The Germans thought they made it 2-1 at 13:22, but a goal was waved off after a coach's challenge. Mattias Plachta would get the puck in the net, but the way play was deemed offside and called back. Fortunately for the Germans, Markus Eisenschmid scored on the next shift on the power play off of a Stefan Loibel setup, but it was Mortiz Seider who did the dirty work to take the puck from around the German net to create the chance.

Germany was the better team, doubling the shots overall, but Kazakhstan would strike when it mattered most. Just 31 seconds into the final stanza on the penalty shot, Roman Starchenko scored five-hole on Niederberger to make it 2-2. The teams traded shots the rest of the way, but it would be Pavel Akolzin scoring with five minutes to go that put Kazakhstan in the lead, one it would never relinquish. 

Russia Bounces Back to Beat Denmark

Two days after a disappointing loss to Slovakia, Russia is back in the win column with a 3-0 shutout effort over Denmark.

The game was close for the most part, with Russia only holding a 1-0 lead through 49 minutes of play. Vegas Golden Knights prospect Ilya Morozov would break the ice on the power play, grabbing the rebound from a Dmitri Voronkov chance to make it 1-0. 

Sebastian Dahm would look strong for most of regulation play before Alexander Barabanov scored midway through the third period after taking a spin-pass from Sergey Tolchinsky to make it 2-0. 

Voronkov scored one of his own with four minutes to go after scoring just a second after Morozov won a late faceoff, putting the dagger in the coffin for Denmark. 

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Three Stars

1. Liam Kirk, F (GB): What a game for the Arizona Coyotes prospect. Two goals and was generally fantastic in his best men's national team game to date.

2. Adam Henrique, F (CAN): Canada badly needed goals, and with two of them, he met the criteria.

3. Ivan Morozov, F (ROC): Every time he hit the ice, you noticed him. A goal and an assist helped seal the deal.

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May 27 Schedule

Switzerland vs. Slovakia - 9:15 AM ET
USA vs. Latvia - 9:15 AM ET
Finland vs. Italy - 1:15 PM ET
Sweden vs. Czech Republic - 1:15 PM ET

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