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Russia, Sweden reach second round at WHC; Norway beats Czechs

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The Canadian Press
5/11/2010 1:52:55 PM
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COLOGNE, Germany -- Two-time reigning champions Russia and Sweden reached the second round of the ice hockey world championship on Tuesday while Norway pulled off a historic victory over the Czech Republic.

Alex Ovechkin scored and his Washington Capitals teammate Alexander Semin added a goal and two assists in Russia's comfortable 4-1 victory over Kazakhstan in Cologne.

In a tournament full of upsets, the 25-time world champions have won both Group A games to advance to the second group stage.

"There have been many surprises in the tournament and you have to play hard every game," said Nikolai Kulemin, a forward with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Semin set up Ovechkin's goal on a power play midway through the opening period and added one of his own late in the second.

Goals from Ilya Kovalchuk in the second period and Denis Grebeshkov in the third gave Russia a 4-0 lead. Kazakhstan got a late goal from Dmitri Dudarev.

Kazakhstan dropped to 0-2.

Slovakia and Belarus both have three points in Group A after the Slovaks came back from a 2-0 deficit after nine minutes for a 4-2 victory.

Former NHL player Richard Lintner set up two Slovakia goals in the second period to even the game before Marek Zagrapan and Milan Bartovic scored in the third.

In Group C, Sweden joined Russia in the second round by holding on for a 3-2 victory over France in Mannheim for its second victory.

The Swedes moved ahead 3-0 after 28 minutes with Carl Gunnarsson of the Toronto Maple Leafs starting things off late in the first period.

But the French, who dropped to 0-2, scored twice in the third period to make things interesting late.

The earlier game in Group C saw Norway fend off two goals by Jaromir Jagr in a 3-2 victory over the Czech Republic with Pal Grotnes collecting 44 saves for Norway.

Both teams moved to 1-1 with three points as Norway picked up its first win over the Czechs at the worlds or Olympics in 73 years.

"That's hockey," said the Czechs' Atlanta Thrashers goalie Ondrej Pavelec.

"Everybody can beat everybody. But it's not over. This was our second game. I think we're going to have some meetings tomorrow, and we'll be ready for Thursday (against Sweden)."

Mats Zuccarello Aasen gave the Norwegians the lead after 12 minutes before Jagr knotted the game on the power play eight minutes into the second period.

Anders Fredriksen answered just two minutes later and Anders Bastiansen gave Norway a 3-1 advantage with just 15:37 minutes to play.

Jagr converted on the power play again with 6:51 remaining, but it was not enough for the Czechs.

On Wednesday, Denmark faces off with Germany and the United States play Finland in Group D in Cologne.

Italy and Latvia face off and Canada take on Switzerland in Group B in Mannheim.

Alex Ovechkin (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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