BERN, Switzerland (AP) – The United States blew a three-goal lead in the third period and lost 6-5 in overtime to Sweden on Wednesday at the ice hockey world championship.

However, a single point was enough for the Americans to win Group C and avoid facing Russia just 18 hours later in a second-round match on the same rink. “To win the group is huge. We didn’t want to play (Thursday),” U.S. coach Ron Wilson said.

Kristian Huselius of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets scored 1:59 into the extra period to secure the extra point, after the U.S. had led 5-2 with less than 12 minutes to play.

The U.S. trailed 2-1 early in the second period, but John-Michael Liles of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche and Ryan Shannon scored on consecutive two-man advantages to put the U.S. in front. Shannon then made it 4-2 from the slot at 4:06 of the third, and Johnson made it 5-2 after capping a breakaway with a goal at 8:20.

“That’s the best 10 minutes of hockey I’ve ever had a U.S. team play,” said Wilson, who has coached at the Olympic, worlds and World Cup level. “We totally dominated. We relaxed once we got the three-goal lead.

“Maybe in another day or so we can play at 60-minute level. We get a day off tomorrow and our guys need that.”

Sweden tied it less than 8 minutes later.

Magnus Johansson netted a loose puck from close range, Niklas Persson advanced on a slow rebound to score with a wrist shot, and Mattias Weinhandl beat Robert Esche to make it 5-5.

Jonas Gustavsson had 39 saves for Sweden, while Esche made 22.

Sweden will play Russia on Thursday, while the U.S. faces France on Friday.

In other games, Finland trailed 3-1 in the second period against the Czech Republic in Zurich but rallied for a 4-3 win and a three-game sweep of Group D.

Earlier in Zurich, Norway defeated Denmark 5-4 in overtime after trailing three times in a game to decide who advanced to the second round.

Norway defenseman Tommy Jakobsen scored 1:11 into overtime to send his team through and Denmark into the relegation group.

The Czech Republic led Finland 3-1 in the second after goals from Tomas Rolinek, Miroslav Blatak and Ales Kotalik offset an early score from Niko Kapanen.

But Ville Koistinen scored and Kapanen added a second to tie it going into the third period. Those two then assisted on Niklas Hagman’s game-winner with 8 minutes remaining.

The Czechs will open the second round on Thursday against Canada. Finland plays Slovakia on Friday.


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