TAMPARE, Finland ( Associated Press) – Hosts Finland overcame a fear of the first period at the Ice Hockey World Championships on Saturday with a 2-1 win over Latvia for the second win in two games.
Mikel Granlund scored the winner on the power play with 2:52 to advance to the final round of the Group B game in Tampere. Rudolfs Balsers led Latvia 1–0 in the opening round, then Sakari Maninen equalized on the power play in mid-frame. Mannin added an assist on Granlund’s goal.
Last year’s tournament runners-up Finland beat Norway 5-0 on Friday while Latvia lost 4-1 to the United States.
Germany bounced back after losing to Canada on the previous day after beating Slovakia 2-1 in Group A in Helsinki. Mathias Plachta and Leonhard Pföderl gave the Germans a 2–0 advantage, responding with Kristian Pospisil’s only Slovak goal.
In Group B, Sweden had only three lines available in the opener against Austria as the team awaits the results of the NHL playoffs to complete the roster with players from the Swedish league, whose playoffs ended on Thursday. .
Joel Kellman, Max Friborg and Joachim Nordström contributed a goal each for a 3–1 win against a team that replaced the Russian and Belarusian squads with France.
In their opener, Czech Republic beat Britain 5–1 in another game of Group B. Matej Blumel led the Czech Republic with two goals and one assist.
Also in Group A, Joachim Blichfeld scored a hat-trick and Nikolaj Ehlers made three assists for Denmark to beat Kazakhstan 9–1 to start the tournament.
A three-goal lead after the first period, all assisted by Jonas Siegenthaler, propelled Switzerland to a 5–2 win over Italy in their opening game in Group A.