Possible NHL top pick Kakko lifts Finns at worlds


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Kaapo Kakko scored a hat trick to lift Finland to a 4-2 victory over host Slovakia at the ice hockey world championship Saturday.

Kakko, who led Finland with two goals in an upset 3-1 win over Canada on Friday, netted his first with 3 minutes, 49 seconds to go in the first period for a 2-1 lead. Martin Marincin equalized for Slovakia in the second before Kakko scored midway through the third in Group A play in Kosice. He added his third into an empty net with 15 seconds remaining.

The 18-year-old Kakko is considered a possible first pick in June’s NHL draft.

Finland next plays the United States on Monday.

In Group B in Bratislava, Filip Hronek and Michael Frolik had two goals and an assist each for the Czech Republic on the way to a 7-2 rout of Norway. The Czechs kept a perfect record at the tournament after beating defending champion Sweden 5-2 on Friday.

Earlier, Germany star forward Leon Draisaitl scored a goal in a 3-1 victory over Britain in a return for the British team to the world hockey championship after 25 years.

It took the Germans almost 40 minutes to beat goaltender Ben Bowns. Moritz Seider scored the opening goal with 39 seconds remaining in the middle period in Group A.

Mike Hammond scored an unassisted tying goal early in the final period, exploiting Draisaitl’s blunder behind his own goal, the first goal for Britain in the top division since 1994.

The goals from Yasin Ehliz on a power play and another by Draisaitl settled the game midway through the final frame.

In Group B, Latvia rallied from a goal down to top Austria 5-2.

Earlier Saturday, Kevin Fiala scored a hat trick and added an assist as Switzerland thrashed Italy 9-0 in its first game.

It was Switzerland’s biggest victory over Italy at the worlds.

Last year’s finalist, Switzerland, didn’t waste time and took control with four goals in the opening period in the Group B game.

Fiala opened the scoring with a backhand on a breakaway 77 seconds in, followed by Gregory Hofmann, Lino Martschini and Vincent Praplan.

Fiala added his second in the second period and completed his hat trick on a power play in the third.

Simon Moser, Romain Loeffel and Nico Hischier also scored.

Goaltender Reto Berra stopped 19 shots for the shutout.

In Group A, Frederik Storm scored the winner for Denmark to prevail over France 5-4 in a penalty shootout.

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