U.S. Topples Sweden 5-3, Czechs Win - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

U.S. Topples Sweden 5-3, Czechs Win

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Brian Gionta scored twice and the United States on Monday continued its surprising run at the World Hockey Championships by handing Sweden its first loss of the tournament 5-3.

The Americans, who had already secured a berth in the quarterfinals, will end the second round atop the Group E standings with eight points, ahead of Sweden, Latvia and Belarus.

In other matches Monday, the Czech Republic beat Slovakia 6-2 and Finland clinched a spot in the quarterfinals with a 7-4 victory over Norway.

Washington Capitals forward Jeff Halpern, with his first goal of the tournament, and Gionta gave the United States a 2-0 lead midway through the opening period before Bjorn Nord responded for Sweden, rifling a low shot from the blueline past Atlanta Thrashers' netminder Damian Rhodes.

The two teams traded a pair of goals in the second, with Gionta scoring his second goal on a powerplay at 2:57 and Henrik Sedin, who with his twin brother will play for the Vancouver Canucks next season, notching his second of the tournament.

The United States went up 4-2 when Jason Blake of the Los Angeles Kings charged down the right side of the ice and faked a slapshot, instead feeding the puck to Mike Peluso, who slipped the puck past Edmonton Oilers goalie Tommy Salo.

Peter Nordstrom narrowed the gap for Sweden to 4-3 to close out scoring in the second period.

With the Swedes applying pressure to pull even in the final period, Steve Konowalchuk of the Washington Capitals scored 46 seconds from the buzzer.

Galvanized by their 6-4 loss to Finland less than 24 hours before, the Czechs jumped out to a 3-0 lead against Slovakia and built their margin to 6-1 en route to the victory.

``It didn't go well for us,'' said the Buffalo Sabres' Miroslav Satan, captain of the Slovakian team. ``We made a couple of mistakes in our defensive zone and it cost us the game.

``We weren't ready to play. We were holding back and we didn't try to put the pressure on them early, so they capitalized on our mistakes.''

The Edmonton Oilers' Janne Niinimaa scored the winning goal against Norway to clinch Finland's spot in the quarterfinals.

In other second-round action, Switzerland defeated Latvia 4-1 to secure its place in the round of eight.
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