Brock Nelson leads U.S. into hockey world championship quarters

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

PRAGUE -- Brock Nelson scored twice and added an assist Sunday as the United States clinched a spot in the quarterfinals of the ice hockey world championship with a 3-1 victory over Slovenia.

The Czech Republic and defending champion Russia also advanced to the knockout stage, while already-qualified Canada maintained a perfect record by trashing Switzerland 7-2 to clinch first place in its group.

The Czechs beat Germany 4-2 while Russia needed overtime to overcome Slovakia 3-2.

Nelson has six goals at the tournament and tops the scoring chart together with Sweden's Filip Forsberg.

The United States is atop Group B with 15 points from six games, one ahead of Russia while Finland is in third with 12. Slovenia has zero and will be demoted to the second-tier tournament next year.

"All through the game we did a good job of getting to the net," said Los Angeles Kings forward Trevor Lewis, who had three assists. "That's where all the goals came from. Brock's a big strong guy and he was really good around the net tonight."

Nelson netted off Mike Reilly's pass from behind the net 4:17 into the game and added his second on a power play with 3:28 remaining in the first period. Jack Eichel had the third American goal in the final period.

Ales Music netted for Slovenia on a breakaway in the second. U.S. goaltender Connor Hellebuyck stopped 21 shots.

Later, Canada made it six wins in six games, getting goals from seven different players -- Tyler Seguin, Nathan MacKinnon, Aaron Ekblad, Jordan Eberle, Cody Eakin, Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux.

"It's nice to be able to score like that as a team," Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene said.

Morris Trachsler and Damien Brunner scored for Switzerland.

Canada tops Group A with 18 points, five more than Sweden and the Czech Republic with one game to go in the group stage. Switzerland has nine in fourth.

In Group B in Ostrava, Artemi Panarin gave Russia the win when he wristed a shot past goalie Julius Hudacek 2:06 into overtime. Marina Gaborik tied the game for Slovakia 7:05 into the third period.

"It was hard but it seems to me that basically, we played well today," Russia captain Ilya Kovalchuk said. "We created plenty of chances, had a lot of the puck."

Jaromir Jagr set up captain Jakub Voracek 7:36 into the final period to score the winning goal for the Czechs.

"It was our duty to advance," Voracek said. "We are well aware that we're strong in offense. There's no need to panic when we're 1-0 down. We have to focus on avoiding defensive errors. The goals will come for sure."

The 43-yeard-old Jagr added an insurance goal with 4:02 to go for his fourth at the tournament.