TAMPERE, Finland — Hosts Finland bounced back from a first-half scare to defeat Latvia 2-1 on Saturday for a second win in two games at the Ice Hockey World Championship.
Nashville Predators forward Mikael Granlund, who was less than a week away from being eliminated in the NHL postseason in North America, scored the winning goal on a power play with 2 minutes and 52 seconds remaining in the final third of the Group B game in Tampere. Rudolfs Balcers gave Latvia a 1-0 lead in the early stages, then Sakari Manninen equalized with a midframe power play. Manninen added an assist to Granlund’s goal.
Finland, runners-up in last year’s tournament, beat Norway 5-0 on Friday, while Latvia lost 4-1 to the United States.
Germany bounced back from a defeat by Canada the day before with a 2-1 win over Slovakia in Group A in Helsinki. Matthias Plachta and Leonhard Pfoderl gave Germany a 2-0 lead, Kristian Pospisil responded with Slovakia’s only goal.
In Group B, Sweden started with only three rows against Austria as the team awaited the results of the NHL playoffs to complete the roster with players from the Swedish league, whose playoffs only ended on Thursday.
Joel Kellman, Max Friberg and Joakim Nordstrom each contributed a goal in the 3-1 win over a side that joined France to replace Russia and Belarus.
In the opener, the Czech Republic beat Great Britain 5-1 in another Group B game. Matej Blumel led the Czech Republic with two goals and one assist.
Also in Group A, Joachim Blichfeld scored a hat-trick and Nikolaj Ehlers provided three assists for Denmark, who started the tournament with a 9-1 win over Kazakhstan.
A three-goal lead after the first period, with New Jersey Devils defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler assisting on all three goals, propelled Switzerland to a 5-2 win over Italy in their Group A opener.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.