April 30, 2009

Canada rolls in world hockey

Steven Stamkos scored twice and Martin St. Louis added a goal Thursday, helping Canada crush the Czech Republic 5-1 at the World Hockey Championship.

Canada's win came in one of four games that opened the second phase of the tournament and the Canadians were the only team to win in regulation time Thursday.

Russia defeated Sweden in overtime 6-5, Belarus was a 3-2 overtime winner over Norway and Latvia stunned Switzerland 2-1 in a shootout.

Canada leads Group E with nine points and, with two games remaining, is assured a spot in next week's quarterfinals. Finland, which plays its opening second-round game Friday against Slovakia, has six points, while Belarus has four, the Czech Republic has three and both Slovakia and Norway have one.

In Group F, Russia is out front with eight points. The United States, which was idle Thursday, will open second-round play Friday against France and a victory in that one would give the Americans seven points.

The Russians and Americans will meet Saturday. Sweden, Latvia, Switzerland and the United States were all at four points after Friday's action and France had yet to produce a point.