ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) Finland handed the United States its second loss by 3-2 at the world ice hockey championship on Monday.
Finland’s third win from three matches kept pace with Canada, which routed Belarus 8-0 with seven different players scoring, and led their group on goal difference. Canada has 20 goals in three games, and doesn’t play Finland until the last round of group matches next week.
The U.S. is fourth with its only win against Belarus. The top four qualify for the quarterfinals.
“I thought it was a very competitive game,” U.S. coach John Hynes said. “Unfortunately for us we were one goal short but we really liked the intensity level that we played with, and I feel like we really took a step in our team game.”
Mikko Koivu and Antti Pihlstrom scored for Finland in the first period before Frank Vatrano made it 2-1 with a slapshot.
The game pitted two players up for the No. 1 spot in next month’s NHL draft, Finland’s Patrik Laine and America’s Auston Matthews. While Laine did not add to his four goals and two assists for the tournament, Matthews took the puck from Laine and assisted Vatrano’s goal to move to two goals and two assists.
“This was the worst game for me in a long time,” said Laine, who said he “stopped playing” before losing the puck to Matthews in the mistaken belief that there had been an offside call. “The most important thing is those three points (for Finland), and it’s all that matters when our team’s winning.”
With patriotic Soviet songs playing in the arena to mark the anniversary of beating the Nazis in the Second World War, Canada got two goals from Ryan O'Reilly, one of them while short-handed.
“It was a competitive game, especially early on,” Canada coach Bill Peters said. “That short-handed goal was a bit of a game-changer. They were very competitive and in the end, our depth is what wore them down.”
Cam Talbot faced only 13 shots for Canada’s first shutout of the championship.
The Czech Republic leads the Moscow group after beating Sweden 4-2 on two goals and an assist from Michal Birner.
Sweden was 2-0 up after the first before the Czechs scored four straight goals to take the win despite being outshot 29-20 overall.
Host Russia is second after beating Latvia 4-0 on two goals and two assists from forward Artemi Panarin, who bounced back after he was pulled from Sunday’s game against Kazakhstan following a hard collision into the boards.
Defenseman Alexei Yemelin faces a minimum one-game suspension after he was ejected for a knee on Miks Indrasis.
Russia is 2-1 after an opening 3-0 loss to the Czech Republic and the tricky 6-4 win over Kazakhstan.
Related: Canada routs United States, 5-1