U.S., Canada, Sweden, Czech Republic win at hockey worlds
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia -- Zach Parise's power-play goal with 8:57 remaining snapped a tie and gave the United States a 6-4 victory over Germany in a qualifying-round game at the world hockey championship on Thursday night.
The Americans appeared to have the game in hand when they scored three times in the opening 2:52, but Germany chipped away at the lead.
Germany got even at 4 early in the third, but Parise of the New Jersey Devils put a shot over goalie Dimitrij Patzold for his second of the game. Dustin Brown sealed the victory with an empty-netter with 1:36 remaining.
"We kind of let them hang around," said Parise, who had two goals and an assist. "We let them off the hook a little bit, but I don't think it's much of a concern. (Germany) played hard.
The United States bounced back from a loss to Canada on Tuesday and grabbed a 3-0 lead on its first four shots.
"If anything, we learned we have to play a 60-minute game," Parise said. "The teams in this tournament are too good to let them off like that."
Germany got on the board at 14:03 of the first when Michael Hackert bounced in a wraparound shot off a sliding O'Sullivan and behind goalie Craig Anderson.
Three minutes later, Germany scored again when Christopher Schmidt one-timed a shot under Anderson, who faced only four shots in the period.
In the second, the U.S. took a 4-2 lead when Jason Pominville banked the puck in off Patzold during a 5-on-3 power play. Germany cut the deficit to one about 5 minutes later when Florian Busch scored his second of the tournament.
The Americans held a 32-9 shots advantage through two periods.
Germany tied it 4:55 into the third when Michael Bakos beat Anderson from the point. Anderson was pulled in favor of Robert Esche after allowing four goals on just 10 shots.
"Give them credit. Germany played a good game," said defenseman Paul Martin, who assisted on both goals by Parise, his Devils teammate. "But we didn't give them a lot chances. They just did a good job capitalizing on their opportunities."
Earlier in Halifax, Rick Nash scored the tiebreaking goal with 3:58 left to lift Canada to a 2-1 victory over upset-minded Norway.
Norway entered as a heavy underdog against the unbeaten Canadians and nearly pulled off a stunner. Nash foiled the plan with a strong effort that produced the winner.
"We knew what we were in for," Nash said. "We didn't expect it to be that close, but I think it's a good team-building game for us."
Norway was already the surprise team of the tournament after its overtime loss to Finland and an upset win over Germany. Mads Hansen scored Norway's lone goal on a short-handed breakaway against Columbus' Pascal Leclaire in the second period.
"We can't outplay Team Canada," Hansen said. "We've got to destroy them. We've got to be on them all the time and then we've got to hope for a break."
He made it 1-1 with just over 26 minutes to play and sent a surge through the Norwegian bench. It just wasn't enough.
Mike Green had the only other goal for Canada, which seemed out of sync despite putting 52 shots on goal. The Canadians didn't create enough traffic in front -- especially on the power play -- and had trouble making crisp passes.
"I think there's always reason for concern in our game," Canada coach Ken Hitchcock said. "The goalie is the difference-maker in our sport. He can win games, he can steal games."
Norway has beaten Canada only once in 16 tries at this event, a 4-3 upset eight years ago in St. Petersburg, Russia.
"We were hoping again, but it didn't work out," Norway captain Tommy Jakobsen said.
In Quebec City, Sweden bounced back from a lackluster loss to Switzerland with an 8-1 rout of Denmark on Thursday.
Just 23 hours after its first loss of the tournament, Sweden took the ice with shuffled lines and coasted to victory in its first qualifying round game.
Henrik Lundqvist, who led Sweden to the gold medal at the 2006 Turin Olympics, played his first game since the New York Rangers were eliminated from the NHL playoffs by Pittsburgh last weekend and made 17 saves.
After pushing the lead to 4-0 in the second period, Sweden broke the game open with four goals in the third. Former Minnesota and Islanders forward Mattias Weinhandl had a goal and three assists.
Kasper Degn spoiled Lundqvist's shutout bid with 5:28 left. Denmark's Peter Hirch allowed seven goals before being replaced by Patrick Galbraith.
Sweden's Niclas Wallin served the first of a two-game suspension handed down by the IIHF for a hit from behind against Switzerland's Roman Wick on Wednesday.
In the other game at Quebec City, the Czech Republic handed Switzerland its first loss of the tournament, 5-0.
Martin Erat, Tomas Kaberle, Patrik Elias, Tomas Fleischmann and Jiri Novotny had the goals against Martin Gerber, and Erat, Kaberle, and Elias each added an assist. Milan Hnilicka was largely untested and stopped 12 shots.
Gerber of the Ottawa Senators was back in goal after a strong performance from Jonas Hiller on Wednesday's win over Sweden. Gerber, who surrendered only two goals in two previous starts, made 28 saves.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press