By KAREL JANICEK
2014-05-14 03:22 AM
MINSK, Belarus (AP) -- Finland blanked Germany 4-0 and Denmark beat Italy 4-1 Tuesday for their first victories at the ice hockey world championship.
After losses to Latvia and Russia, Finland finally found its stride. Petri Kontiola and Jarkko Immonen's first-period goals gave the Finns a 2-0 lead before Olli Palola and Leo Komarov scored 30 seconds apart in the second.
"Maybe it's a bit of a turning point, it's certainly good to get a smile back on our faces," Kontiola said.
Goaltender Pekka Rinne made 20 saves for the shutout.
Finland has three points in Group B, while Germany has five.
Jannik Hansen scored a short-handed goal for Denmark and Jesper Jensen, Emil Kristensen netted one each before Kim Staal added the last into an empty net.
Denmark plays Canada next on Thursday.
"If this tournament has proved anything it's that anybody can beat anybody," Hansen said about Denmark's hopes to advance to the quarterfinals. "If you have a fortunate day and couple of bounces, anything can happen."
Diego Kostner scored for Italy.
"Tactically, defensively we played a sound, solid game" Italy coach Tom Pokel said. "So it was a tough one to swallow today."
Denmark and Italy have three points each in Group A.