Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Germany win at hockey worlds

Updated: May 7, 2008, 7:48 PM ET
Associated Press

Minnesota Wild prospect Julien Sprunger scored two power-play goals Monday to lead Switzerland to a 2-1 win over Belarus at the IIHF World Hockey Championship.

Sprunger put Switzerland (2-0) ahead 1-0 in the first period in Quebec City. His shot from the right circle beat Belarus goalie Vitaly Koval and went in off the crossbar.

The left winger broke a 1-1 tie with his second of the game and third of the tournament. He deflected Thibault Monnet's point shot at 14:36 of the second period with what proved to be the winner.

"It's sort of my role on this team to score, so when I get my chances I try to take them," Sprunger said.

Monnet also assisted on Sprunger's first goal.

Belarus (0-2) made it 1-1 at 7:34 of the second when Konstantin Koltsov stripped Philippe Furrer of the puck and then beat goalie Martin Gerber of the Ottawa Senators with a backhander.

"They had a few good chances, especially on the power play," said Gerber, who stopped 22 shots. "We tried to be really careful with giveaways in their zone because we knew they were a good team off the rush."

Belarus bolstered its lineup by adding four NHL players: Montreal Canadiens forwards Andrei Kostitsyn and Sergei Kostitsyn and Mikhail Grabovski as well as Colorado Avalanche defenseman Ruslan Salei.

Belarus coach Curt Fraser said the four are used to playing under pressure.

"They put pressure on themselves tonight to compete hard for their teammates," Fraser said. "They played hard but the penalties were a huge difference in the game and our power play didn't produce when we had a chance."

Canadiens defenseman Mark Streit, the Swiss captain, will not join the team because of a back injury sustained in the NHL playoffs.

In Monday's other game in Quebec City, Sweden beat France 9-0. In Halifix, Nova Scotia, Finland edged Norway 3-2 in overtime and Germany got past Slovakia 4-2.

Nicklas Backstrom scored twice for Sweden (2-0), and Kenny Jonsson, Alexander Edler and Mattias Weinhandl each had a goal and two assists.

Patric Hornqvist, Niclas Wallin, Tony Martensson and Robert Nilsson also scored, Fredrik Warg had four assists and Stefan Liv made 16 saves for the shutout.

Fabrice Lhenry and Cristobal Huet combined to stop 42 shots for France (0-2).

Tuomo Ruutu scored 1:27 into overtime to help Finland (2-0) pull out a win. Jussi Jokinen and Ville Peltonen scored in regulation.

Morten Ask had a goal and an assist, and Anders Bastiansen also scored for Norway (0-2).

Michael Hackert scored twice, including the game-winner late in the second period. Stefan Ustorf and Marco Sturm also scored for Germany (1-1).

Juraj Kolnik and Ivan Ciernik had goals for Slovakia (1-1).


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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