Hayes scores twice as U.S. hands Russia first loss at Worlds

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Team USA notched its biggest win of the World Hockey Championship on Tuesday, knocking off previously undefeated Russia 5-3.

Kevin Hayes scored twice, while Anders Lee continued his terrific tourney by netting the game-winner on the power play in the third period. Isles teammate Brock Nelson — who’s also playing very well for the U.S. — had a three-point effort, while Johnny Gaudreau and Dylan Larkin registered two points each.

The Russians were led by Nikita Gusev, who scored twice.

As mentioned above, this was the first setback of the tourney for Russia. The team had previously run roughshod through the preliminary round, largely on the strength of its “big three” — forwards Nikita Kucherov, Artemi Panarin and Vadim Shipachyov. The trio had combined for 36 points but went silent on Tuesday. Shipachyov was the only one to find the scoresheet, registering an assist.

The U.S. has to be thrilled with today’s result. It’s a stark turnaround from its opening loss to the Germans, and has put the squad among the favorites for gold. The Americans have reeled off six straight wins and have looked dangerous offensively, scoring 16 goals over their last three games.

The U.S. also locked up top spot in Group A with Tuesday’s victory.