Slovakia, Czechs open ice hockey worlds with wins



HELSINKI (AP) — Slovakia downed France 6-2 and the Czech Republic beat Belarus 2-0 to open with victories at the ice hockey world championships Friday.

The Slovaks, silver medalists last year, led 2-0 in Helsinki after a goal and an assist from forward Tomas Zaborsky. He set up Michel Miklik in the first period and then redirected a pass from Roman Kukumberg for the second.

Goals from Branko Radivojevic, Miroslav Satan, Peter Olvecky and Libor Hudacek extended Slovakia’s lead. Damien Raux and Damien Fleury found the net for the French.

In Stockholm, Czech goalie Alexander Salak finished with 21 saves for last year’s bronze medalists. Phoenix forward Radim Vrbata scored on a power play at 9:57 in the third period. He also assisted on Jakub Voracek’s opener at 11:03 in the first.