MINSK (Reuters) - United States bounced back from consecutive defeats against Russia and Latvia by squeezing past Kazakhstan 4-3 in the preliminary round of the world ice hockey championship in Belarus on Friday.
Elsewhere, Cody Hodgson of the Buffalo Sabres continued his hot streak with two goals in Canada’s 6-1 rout of Italy.
Nashville Predators defenseman Seth Jones scored twice for the U.S. including the game-winner in overtime.
Craig Smith and Matt Donovan also netted while experienced goaltender Tim Thomas stopped 22 shots.
Thomas saved a penalty when the Americans were 3-2 up in the third period but Roman Starchenko forced overtime with his second goal of the game with six minutes and 50 seconds remaining.
Jones grabbed the fourth goal for the Americans 65 seconds into overtime.
The U.S. are third in the eight-nation Group B standings with eight points, one behind Latvia and four adrift of Russia. Kazakhstan are bottom on two points.
”That was a huge game in every way,“ Donovan told reporters. ”We really needed that.
“We need to keep working and get better every game especially as we near the end of this round.”
Canadian Hodgson added Friday’s two-goal blast to his hat-trick in Thursday’s 6-1 triumph over Denmark.
”The most important games are the ones coming up,“ said Hodgson. ”I‘m playing with some good wingers right now.
“It seems like we’re generating a lot of chances. Hopefully it continues.”
Joel Ward, Jason Chimera, Kyle Turris and Brayden Schenn also netted for Canada who top Group A with four wins out of five.
Italy are joint bottom alongside Denmark.
Editing by Tony Jimenez