US and Finland take opening games

The United States and Finland have won their first games at the 2009 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Switzerland.

This content was published on April 25, 2009 - 18:40

Finland dominated Norway 5-0 in Zurich while the US faced a more difficult match-up against Latvia in the capital, Bern, claiming victory with a score of 4-2.

Latvia, ranked 11th, opened scoring early in the first period against the US when Herberts Vasiljevs beat goalie Robert Esche. Jack Johnson of the sixth-ranked US squad was off serving a two-minute penalty for interference.

Johnson got even less than seven minutes later, scoring the equaliser after his shot from beyond the circle got through a tangle of players and past Latvian goaltender Edgars Masalskis.

The first period ended in a 1-1 tie.

Latvia went ahead again just under seven minutes into the second period with a goal from Martins Karsums. Drew Stafford of the US tied the game at 11:13 into the second period and four minutes later, Johnson of the National Hockey League's Los Angeles Kings, scored his second goal of the afternoon.

Patrick O'Sullivan of the US scored just over six minutes in the third period.

The US will square off against Austria on Monday afternoon in Group C play in Bern and Latvia face Sweden in the evening.

Finland dominates

In Zurich, a strong squad from Finland took full advantage of Norway's ten penalties.

Antti Miettinen's power play goal on Norwegian goalie Pal Grotnes at 13:44 in the first period started things off for the world's fourth ranked team.

Teammate Jarkko Immonen would follow less than three minutes later, with Niko Kapanen scoring with two seconds left in the first period.

Mika Pyorala of Finland scored just over 14 minutes into the second period, assisted by Tuomas Pihlman.

Four minutes into the third period, Mikko Lehtonen scored another power play goal, assisted by Jarkko Ruutu of the Ottawa Senators.

With less than two minutes to go Finland's Janne Niinimaa was sent off the ice with a ten-minute misconduct penalty.

Finland play Denmark on Monday evening in Group D. The Czech Republic face Norway in the afternoon in Zurich.

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