USA, Canada win hockey openers

April 27, 2002 at 5:14 PM
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GOTHENBURG, Sweden, April 27 (UPI) -- Richard Park and Andy Hilbert each scored twice Saturday as the United States opened the World Hockey Championship tournament with a 5-2 victory over Italy.

In other preliminary round games, Canada -- playing with a vastly different lineup than the one that captured the gold medal at the Salt Lake City Olympics -- pulled away for a 4-1 victory over Latvia; Slovakia rolled to a 7-0 rout of Poland and Finland recorded a 3-0 blanking of Ukraine.

A member of the Minnesota Wild, the Korean-born Park scored a power-play goal at 7:09 of the first period and added an unassisted shorthanded tally 10 seconds into the third to give the United States a 4-0 cushion.

Hilbert, who plays in the Boston Bruins' organization, had power-play goals in each of the first two periods and Steve Konowalchuk of the Washington Capitals also scored for the Americans.

Stefano Margoni and Manuel de Toni scored in the third period for Italy, which has just two players with NHL experience -- goaltenders Mike Rosati and Mario Brunetta.

Konowalchuk captains a United States team comprised largely of North American minor leaguers and bears little resemblance to the squad that won the silver medal two months ago in Salt Lake City.

The same can be said of Canada, which had to fight off a boisterious crowd in addition to the upset-minded Latvians. Edmonton Oilers teammates Ryan Smyth and Eric Brewer are the only players who also were on the roster that won Canada's first Olympic hockey gold medal in 50 years.

Mighty Ducks of Anaheim rookie Andy McDonald scored the go-ahead goal on the power play midway through the second period and Dallas Stars defenseman Richard Matvichuk and Brewer padded the lead in the third.

Coming off a bitter first-round elimination at the Olympics, Slovakia got goals from seven different players and 23 saves from Rastislav Stana. Lubos Bartecko of the Atlanta Thrashers collected a goal and two assists for the Slovaks.

Jussi Markkanen had to stop just 10 shots for Finland, which scored once in each period to defeat the overmatched Ukrain

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