World Championship Roundup: Top Dogs Prevail

There weren't any odd upsets on Tuesday, but many of the tournament bigwigs were able to show their muscle after days of chaotic hockey in Riga.
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IIHF men's world championship

USA Shuts out Kazakhstan

In a tournament full of upsets, you can make a joke that an undefeated Kazakhstan getting beat by a 1-1 USA is an upset. In reality, USA was in full control of Tuesday's game, shutting out Kazakhstan by a score of 3-0.

Cal Petersen was perfect for USA, stopping all 18 shots sent his way. Kazakhstan's Nikita Boyarkin continued his great tournament by turning away 49 shots in the loss.

The win moves USA to 2-1 after dropping the first game against Finland before beating Canada on Saturday. Kazakhstan has now dropped its first contest after shootout victories over Latvia and Belarus.

It wasn't a high-scoring affair, but USA took the 1-0 lead at 6:57 of the first. Adam Clendening's shot from the point would beat Boyarkin after Jason Robertson and Trevor Moore made some moves to create the play. Moore would then score one of his own on a delayed penalty at 1:33 in the second period, with Jack Drury finishing off the scoring after tipping in Ryan Donato's shot in the third.

Great Britain Forces OT, but Denmark Takes Victory

It was much different from the 9-0 win the Danes had over Great Britain back in 2019, but the winner remained the same as Denmark was able to secure the 3-2 overtime win on Tuesday.

With the win, Denmark moved into fourth place in a playoff spot behind Slovakia, Russia and Switzerland. Great Britain's win, as well as Sweden's victory over Switzerland, means all teams in Group A have at least one point.

For the first time in the tournament, the British were able to take the lead in a game. Ben O'Connor would beat Sebastian Dahm up high on a shot Dahm didn't seem to expect, giving the Brits some momentum after a close 2-1 loss to Slovakia over the weekend.

But the lead didn't last for long. At 10:19, Julian Jakobsen answered back after the Danes moved the puck around the crease, eventually landing on Jakobsen's stick and in the back of the net shortly after.

Three minutes later, Nicklas Jensen's power-play goal beat a cheating Ben Bowns, who moved out of the way expecting the shot to go to his left, but it instead went just past his right pad. 

The game looked over for the most part until Mike Hammond scored at 56:18. Hammond's wrist shot went right through Dahm's legs and in for the tying goal, forcing the game into overtime. A late penalty call put Great Britain down a man to finish the extra frame, and at 4:35, defenseman Marcus Lauridsen's wrist shot beat Bowns for the 3-2 goal to secure the win.

Sweden Wins First Game in Big Way

After losses to Denmark and Belarus, Sweden has finally recorded a win after crushing the previously undefeated team from Switzerland 7-0.

The win was big for Sweden, who finally have something to cheer about after disappointing losses to teams most didn't expect to be a threat early on. Sweden is running a roster with very few NHLers, but they came up big today to beat a red-hot Swiss team that looked strong in its first two efforts.

Two quick goals in the second period set the pace for the rest of the contest. Jesper Froden would score his first of the tournament from the point off of a Lawrence Pilut feed to make it 1-0 at 8:35. Less than two minutes later, Adrian Kempe caught Leo Genoni off guard with a far-distance wrist shot, beating Genoni glove side on a shot he thought was going to miss the net. 

At 22:33, Victor Olofsson continued the fun with his trademark wrist shot, only to have Froden add another goal eight minutes later. Genoni was replaced in favor of Melvin Nyffelerer, but at that point, the damage was already done.

Switzerland struggled to create any meaningful scoring chances despite staying with Sweden, shot-wise. Magnus Nygren, Nils Lundkvist and Henrik Tommernes would add goals in the third to make it 7-0, giving Sweden huge momentum in an otherwise challenging tournament for the team.

Norway Strikes First, but Finns Take W

Finland wasn't interested in another upset on Tuesday, defeating Norway 5-2 to take the team's second victory of the tournament.

The game started off in terrible fashion for the Finns. On Norway's only shot of the first half of the period, Jussi Olkinuora gave the puck away after clearing it from behind his net right to Norway's Michael Haga. He then quickly got it to Mathis Olimb, who beat a flustered Olkinuora for the 1-0 goal.

The Norwegian's would lead for about 13 minutes until Iiro Pakarinen tied it up. Pakarinen was credited with the goal after tipping in Atte Ohtamaa's shot, giving Finland some life after a rough start. From there, it was all Team Finland. Anton Lundell and Kim Nousiainen would score the only goals of the second period to give Finland a two-goal advantage, forcing Norway to play catch-up.

Norway did get a second lease on life when Tobias Lindstrom scored on a one-timer off of a Mathias Trettenes at 41:13, but that was the last time they were able to celebrate. Jere Innala took the steam out of Norway's ship six minutes later and Hannes Bjorninen added one of his own at 53:25 to cap off the contest.

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Three Stars

1. Jesper Froden, F (SWE): Two goals and an assist in his first game of the tournament. Not a bad impact to make with no previous World Championship experience.

2. Nils Lundkvist, D (SWE): A goal and two assists in yet another great outing for the young Rangers prospect. Left the game with an apparent right leg injury, though.

3. Nikita Boyarkin, G (KAZ): The second time he has appeared in the three stars. He made 49 saves and kept Kazakhstan in a game they probably shouldn't have been close in.

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May 26 Schedule

9:15 AM ET - Russia vs. Denmark
9:15 AM ET - Kazakhstan vs. Germany
1:15 PM ET - Belarus vs. Great Britain
1:15 PM ET - Canada vs. Norway

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