HERNING, Denmark – Finland handed the United States its first defeat at the ice hockey world championship in a 6-2 thumping on Tuesday.
Also, defending champion Sweden rallied from a goal down to edge Russia 3-1 in a battle for top spot in Group A in Copenhagen. The Swedes won all seven preliminary round games and will next play Latvia, which earned the last quarterfinal berth by edging Denmark 1-0.
The Finns supplanted the U.S. to top Group B in Herning, and will face Switzerland in the quarterfinals on Thursday. The Swiss clinched a quarterfinal spot by beating France 5-1 to finish fourth in Group A in Copenhagen.
Canada shut out Germany 3-0 to secure third place in Group B and set up a matchup against Russia.
“We didn’t leave ourselves in a great spot after the group stage but we’re going to have to play them at some stage,” captain Connor McDavid said.
The Americans’ first defeat in seven games dropped them to second in the group and a quarterfinal against the Czech Republic, the third team in Group A.
“It’s not a good feeling losing,” U.S. captain Patrick Kane said. “It could be good for us to make sure we won’t deal with this again and stay positive. We’re a good team, we’ve had a good tournament to this point.”
“(The Czechs) have some talents, it will be a tough game against them.”
Sebastian Aho scored a couple of opening-period goals for Finland and added one more into an empty net to finish the scoring to become the championship leader with nine goals and eight assists. Kane also has 17 points with six goals and 11 assists.
“We’ve played really well,” Aho said. “We just try not to think who we play against, focus on our own system and play our game.”
Kane got a power play goal to reduce the deficit to 4-1 in the final period. Derek Ryan added another one for the U.S.
Brayden Schenn gave Canada an early goal just 20 seconds into the game. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins made it 2-0 in the second and Tyson Jost sealed it in the third.
McDavid had two assists and goaltender Darcy Kuemper made 12 saves for his shutout.
“Everyone played hard and everyone played really responsible, so a good momentum for us,” Kuemper said.
Mika Zibanejad levelled for Sweden midway through the second period after Kirill Kaprizov had put Russia ahead early. Rickard Rakell then put the Swedes ahead for good and Mattias Ekholm added the third into an empty net.
Gregory Hofmann, Enzo Corvi, Ramon Untersander, Kevin Fiala Simon Moser had a goal apiece for the Swiss. France replied with one from Guillaume Leclerc. Also, Slovakia beat already relegated Belarus 7-4 in their last game.