MINSK, Belarus (AP) — Russia secured a quarterfinals berth at the ice hockey world championship with a 4-1 win over Latvia on Saturday to remain unbeaten.
Russia outshot Latvia 43-15 in its fifth straight win. It leads Group B, with still two games to go, by six points from Latvia and Belarus. The United States and Finland are another point back. Also, Denmark upset the Czech Republic 4-3 in a penalty shootout, France prevailed in another penalty shootout to edge Norway 5-4, and host Belarus rallied to beat Germany 5-2.
In late games, Slovakia topped Italy 4-1 and Switzerland downed Kazakhstan 6-2 to earn their second victories in Minsk in six games. Forward Viktor Tikhonov starred for Russia with two first-period goals and an assist.
He tied it at 1 with a wrist shot, and scored on a power play to make it 3-1 with his sixth goal of the tournament. "We conceded a goal but then we showed our character and replied," Tikhonov said. "We have to play for 100 percent the whole game."
Sergei Shirokov and Sergei Kalinin also had a goal apiece. Miks Indrasis one-timed the puck past Russia goaltender Sergei Bobrovski to give Latvia an early lead. "The best thing is that we keep winning," Kalinin said.
Mikkel Boedker netted a backhand in the penalty shootout to give Denmark its first victory over the Czech Republic at the worlds. "We stayed in the game. We stayed the course," Boedker said. "We kept battling and we got two late goals."
Jaromir Jagr had a power play goal and set up Jakub Klepis, also on a power play, but the Czechs blew a 3-1 lead. Patrick Bjorkstrand force overtime with 53 seconds remaining in regulation. Stephane Da Costa scored the winning penalty in the shootout to lift France over Norway.
Four teams — the Czech Republic, France, Norway and Slovakia — are tied for third in the eight-team Group A. Defending champion Sweden led, followed by Canada. The first four in each group advance to the quarterfinals.
Antoine Roussel scored twice and Yorick Treille had one goal in a 51-second span in the second to lead France's comeback, after Norway took a 2-0 lead with goals from Mats Trygg and Morten Ask. Mikhail Grabovski completed the comeback for Belarus against Germany with two goals in the third to thrill the sold-out Minsk Arena.
Kai Hospelt and Alexander Barta gave the Germans a 2-0 first-period lead.