Czech Republic beats Switzerland 3-1

INNSBRUCK, Austria -- The United States routed Slovenia 7-0
in its opener at the hockey world championship Sunday, with Mike
Knuble scoring two goals and goaltender Rick DiPietro facing only
15 shots.
Slovenia, a newcomer to international hockey's top annual event,
was greeted with a goal by Knuble 31 seconds after the opening
faceoff. It was one of the fastest goals in the history of the
"In the NHL I had two goals in the first 27 seconds, set a
record once there for the fastest two goals in a game," said
Knuble, an eight-year NHL veteran who played in Sweden this season.
"I could have had a hat trick [today], but I never get hat tricks
so I wasn't expecting one."
Adam Hall, Mark Parrish, Jeff Halpern, Yan Stastny and Brian
Gionta also scored for the United States, which finished third in
last year's tournament. Mike Modano, the Dallas Stars' standout who
hasn't played much this season during the lockout, went pointless.
In the early game in Vienna, the Czech Republic scored three
power-play goals and beat Switzerland 3-1. Jaromir Jagr had one of
the goals for the Czechs.
In late games, Sweden, the 2003 and 2004 runner-up, beat Ukraine
3-2 in Innsbruck while Kazakhstan downed Germany 2-1 in Vienna.
Knuble, named the player of the game for the United States, had
a great chance to make it 2-0 six minutes after his opening goal.
But Slovenia goalie Robert Kristian thwarted him with a pad save on
a breakaway. Knuble beat Kristian for his second goal at 5:48 in
the second, banging in a loose puck in front of the crease to make
it 4-0.
"I have a newfound respect for Mike Knuble and the way he's
been able to carry people on his back," U.S. coach Peter
Laviolette said. "He played relentless hockey, digging for pucks
and making things happen."
Knuble, who scored 20 goals or more in his previous two seasons
with the Boston Bruins, had 26 goals in 49 games with the Swedish
club Linkoping this year.
"I'm not a superstar-type of guy that can sit around and still
have the skills," he said, explaining his decision to move to
Europe during the lockout that canceled the NHL season.
Canada, the two-time defending champion, and the United States
are in the same preliminary group in these championships. They meet
in the round-robin finale Thursday. The United States' next
opponent is Latvia on Tuesday. Latvia lost to Canada 6-4 on
Knuble thinks the Americans can do as well in this tournament as
last year, when the United States had its best finish since coming
in third in 1996.
"Our goaltending is very capable of leading us to a medal," he
said. "We've got a great defense and capable forwards. It's a fun
tournament. It's fun to play hockey again.
"A lot of us are tired of dealing with the NHL, thinking about
the NHL, the lockout and that. So we want to concentrate on playing
hockey and come together quickly."
In Vienna, Vaclav Prospal and Jagr converted on a pair of power
plays in the first 7:31 of the game and the Czech Republic easily
handled Switzerland. Severin Blindenbacher also scored on a power
play midway through the first but Frantisek Kaberle restored the
two-goal advantage early in the third on another man-advantage. The
Czechs outshot the Swiss 41-23.
Dmitri Upper and Yevgeniy Koreshkov scored for Kazakhstan in its
At Innsbruck, Daniel Alfredsson beat goalie Kostyantyn Simchuk
to the glove side with a wrister from the slot at 10:08 to clinch
Sweden's victory. Sweden, missing national team stars Peter
Forsberg, Mats Sundin and Markus Naslund, led on first-period goals
by Magnus Kahnberg and Kenny Jonsson. Sweden outshot Ukraine 48-17.