MINSK, Belarus (AP) Viktor Tikhonov scored twice and Alex Ovechkin added a goal and two assists Monday as Russia routed the United States 6-1 for its third straight victory at the ice hockey world championships.
In the day’s other big matchup, Canada downed the Czech Republic 4-3.
Nikolai Kolyomin opened the scoring for Russia and Alex Ovechkin beat veteran goaltender Tim Thomas with backhand on a penalty shot in the first period for his third goal of the tournament. Ovechkin set up both of Tikhonov’s goals in the second, with Yevgeni Kuznetsov and Sergei Plotnikov also scoring for Russia.
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”We’re a good team, we have a good atmosphere in the dressing room,” Kolyomin said. ”Everybody’s ready to work hard and do his best for the team.”
Justin Abdelkader pulled one back for the U.S. to make it 3-1.
”We’ve got to learn from this game, hopefully be a better team,” Abdelkader said. ”It’s a good learning experience for us to learn to see how a team plays, like Russia. Russia is a really good team. Their goalie played tremendous for them.”
The Americans outshot Russia 40-23 but 19-year-old rookie goalie Andrei Vasilevski made 39 saves.
Russia leads Group G with nine points from three games, while the U.S. has six.
Earlier, France overcame Slovakia 5-3 for another upset victory and host Belarus stunned Switzerland 4-3.
Canada took control with three second-period goals through Kyle Turris, Nathan MacKinnon and Morgan Rielly – the last two on power plays in a 17-second span – having trailed 1-0.
Roman Cervenka put the Czechs ahead but Joel Ward answered with a high wrist shot midway through the first period for his third goal of the tournament. Jiri Novotny and Tomas Hertl on a penalty reduced the result to 4-3 in the third.
”We walk away with the win, but our team has a lot of work to do,” Canada coach Dave Tippett said.
Czech forward Jan Kovar received a five-minute penalty and was ejected from the game for injuring Canada captain Kevin Bieksa with a high stick in the second.
Canada has seven points from three games in Group A, while the Czechs are on three.
France followed up its upset win over Canada in its opening game by coming from 3-1 down to beat Slovakia. Damien Fleury scored the winner on a rebound with 3:41 left in regulation to complete the comeback.
Antoine Roussel added his second goal into an empty net for France’s fifth. Baptiste Amar also scored twice for France.
”I feel like our team has a lot of character,” Roussel said. ”We created our chances on the power play. We were so aggressive and we didn’t take so many shots.”
Ladislav Nagy had two goals for Slovakia, with captain Miroslav Satan also scoring.
France has five points from three games in Group A, while Slovakia remained on one.
”We’re not ready to give it up,” Satan said. ”The tournament is not over yet.”
Mikhail Grabovski netted the decisive goal with 2:06 remaining in the final period in Belarus’ second victory at the worlds to thrill 15,000 home fans at the Minsk Arena.
”I’m really proud of my boys,” Belarus coach Glen Hanlon said. ”The huge support that we have from our fans was likely the difference for us.”
Goals from Yannick Weber, Reto Schappi and Etienne Froidevaux had given Switzerland a 3-2 lead in the third but Belarus equalized through Sergei Kostitsy’s second goal.
It was the third straight loss for Switzerland, last year’s runner-up.
”It’s a difficult situation for us right now we have to stay positive and look forward but it won’t be easy,” Switzerland coach Sean Simpson said.
Belarus has six points in Group B while Switzerland is on zero.