Ice Hockey - Swiss crush Slovenia, US ease past Finland

Denis Hollenstein, Simon Bodenmann and Luca Cunti combined for three first-period goals as Switzerland slammed seven past Slovenia to preserve their stunning run of wins at the ice hockey world championship.

Reuters
Ice Hockey - Swiss crush Slovenia, US ease past Finland
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Switzerland's Luca Cunti (R) and Denis Hollenstein (top) try to score the puck past Slovenia's goalie Andrej Hocevar (Reuters)

The Swiss followed up impressive victories over Sweden, Canada and Czech Republic with a 7-1 thrashing of Slovenia in Stockholm on Wednesday to cement their place at the top of the group.

The Slovenians took the lead in the seventh minute, but after that it was all Switzerland as Hollenstein, Bodenmann and Cunti took turns to score and assist one another, notching nine points between them in a five-minute burst.

The Swiss then added three more in the second period to put the game beyond Slovenia's reach before Retor Suri rounded off the scoring in the third.

In the evening game in Stockholm, Sweden struggled for two periods against neighbours Norway before pulling away in the final period to win 5-1, Gabriel Landeskog netting twice for the home team.

Sweden have had a tough time converting power plays into goals and will look forward to the arrival of the Sedin brothers, Daniel and Henrik, whose Vancouver Canucks are out of Stanley Cup contention after a 4-0 sweep by the San Jose Sharks in the National Hockey League.

In Helsinki, goalkeeper John Gibson marked his world championship debut with a shutout as a Craig Smith hat-trick helped the United States to a commanding 4-1 win over co-hosts Finland.

Paul Stastny assisted Smith's two last goals in the third period.

In the early game in the Finnish capital, Germany beat Austria 2-0 thanks to two goals from Marcus Kink.

With just over half the games played, Switzerland top Group A on 11 points ahead of Sweden (nine), Canada (seven) and Norway (six). Russia lead Group B with the U.S. in second, hosts Finland third and Slovakia in fourth spot.

The top four teams in each group qualify for the quarter-finals.

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