Finland, Sweden claim narrow victories at Worlds

Minsk, Belarus ( - Finland clipped host nation Belarus, while Sweden nipped France as round-robin play continued Thursday at the 2014 World Hockey Championship.

Pekka Rinne stopped all 15 shots he faced and Petri Kontiola registered both goals for the Finns, who were able to vault into a third-place tie in Group B with the victory.

Kevin Lalande made 13 saves in defeat for Belarus, which is knotted along with the Finns and Americans at two wins and two regulation losses apiece thus far.

Anders Nilsson stopped 17 shots, while Joel Lundqvist and Oscar Moller tallied for Sweden late in the second period in its 2-1 victory over France. The Swedes vaulted over Canada for first place in Group A with 11 points.

Florian Hardy did what he could to keep the French in the game, halting 32 pucks in defeat. Stephane Da Costa picked up the lone goal for his country.

Earlier in the day, Canada rolled past Denmark and the United States was beaten by Latvia

The Canadians earned their third straight victory after an opening-game loss to France with a 6-1 rout on Thursday. Cody Hodgson recorded a hat trick and Matt Read scored twice for Canada, which sits second in Group A, one point behind Sweden.

The Americans, meanwhile, suffered their second straight loss with a 6-5 setback. The U.S. had won its opening two games against Belarus and Switzerland before a 6-1 pounding at the hands of Russia on Monday.

Latvia ended a six-game World Championship losing streak to the United States and moved into second place in Group B with nine points, three back of the top-billed Russians.