Kazakhstan’s World Championship struggles continue after another high-scoring game ended in a narrow loss. This time, Germany took the verdict in a roller-coaster 5-4 game; the Kazakhs now face a winner-takes-all showdown against Italy to determine who will escape relegation.

Against Germany, the game ebbed and flowed from the start. Kazakhstan twice led in the first period on goals from Roman Starchenko and Yegor Petukhov, but somehow found itself down 2-3 at the intermission. The Germans extended that lead through Lukas Reichel, a late addition to the roster, early in the second period but Kazakhstan refused to roll over.

Goals from Pavel Akolzin and Nikita Mikhailis either side of the second intermission tied the scores at 4-4, but Yasin Ehliz got the winner to leave Kazakhstan still seeking its first points in Helsinki.

Monday brings a clash that will decide Kazakhstan’s future. Staying out of the box could be crucial: the Kazakhs have allowed 11 goals when shorthanded – the worst record in the tournament – and to make matters worse they have been at a disadvantage on 23 occasions (only Great Britain can match that unwanted statistic). Not surprisingly, Curtis Valk describes penalties as “our Kryptonite”.

Nikita Mikhailis added: “We need to keep a grip on our emotions, we are giving away too many unnecessary penalties. Everyone understands that we have a tough game [against Italy]. We need to play with spirit. We all know this is the last game of the tournament so everyone is going to give it everything.”

Power play lifts Latvia over GB

Latvia’s power play showed up to save Harijs Vitolins’ team from defeat against Great Britain and banish any lingering fears of relegation.

It was always an outside shot that the Latvians could be sucked into trouble at the foot of the standings, but defeat to GB in regulation would leave them vulnerable, just one point ahead of Austria and Britain.

So when the Brits jumped to a 2-0 first period lead, these were anxious times for the men from the Baltic state. The teams traded goals early in the second period, but gradually Latvia proved adept at niggling GB into taking soft penalties and then took advantage to score three power play goals and claim a 4-3 win. Janis Jaks, Rihards Bukarts and Andris Dzerins got the all-important goals, with Martins Dzierkals assisting on each one.

The result means GB needs nothing less than victory over Austria in regulation tomorrow to escape relegation; Latvia has a theoretical chance of sneaking a playoff spot if it can beat Sweden and other results go the right way.

Swedes, Swiss pick up wins

William Nylander joined up with Team Sweden and the Toronto winger immediately contributed a goal and two assists in a 7-1 win over Norway. Another recent arrival from the NHL, Jacob Peterson, scored twice and former CSKA man Lucas Wallmark got his first of the tournament in a convincing performance that keeps the Tre Kronor in with a chance of topping Group B ahead of Finland.

Switzerland recorded a sixth successive victory, but had to come from behind to beat France 5-2 in Helsinki. The French jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first period but could not hold on. Andres Ambuhl claimed the game winner while Nico Hischier scored twice to move to second in the goalscoring chart behind Rasmus Asplund. The Swede also got two goals tonight and has six tallies overall, one more than Hischier.

Main photo: © Eurasia Sport Images / Getty Sport / GettyImages.ru

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