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Czechs, Sweden edge towards world ice hockey quarter-finals

© AFP | Czeck Republic's Roman Cervenka (R) scores during their IIHF Men's world Championship group B ice hockey match against Slovenia in Paris, on May 12, 2017

PARIS (AFP) - 

The Czech Republic and Sweden edged closer to the quarter-finals at the world ice hockey championships on Friday with crushing wins over Slovenia and Italy respectively.

The Czechs gave Slovenia no chance scoring three times in the first period before sealing a 5-1 victory to sit second in Group B two points behind two-time defending champions Canada.

France assured their place among the elite by beating Belarus 4-3 in a penalty shootout thanks largely to stalwarts Stéphane Da Costa and goaltender Cristobal Huet.

The hosts had lead 2-0 in Paris before Belarus scored three unanswered goals but the French levelled with seven minutes to go. Belarus now face a play-off Saturday against Slovenia.

In Cologne, Sweden crushed Italy 8-1 with a late surge despite leading by just 3-1 after the first two periods. The Scandinavians now sit one point behind Russia who have played a game less.

Denmark, meanwhile, served a blow to German hopes or reaching the quarter-finals, beating the tournament co-hosts 3-2 after extra time.

© 2017 AFP