TAMPERE, Finland (AP) — The United States overcame defending champion Finland 4-1 to open the ice hockey world championship on Friday.

Alex Tuch scored two goals and Drew O’Çonnor had a goal and two assists to lead the U.S. Cutter Ganthier also scored and goaltender Casey DeSmith stopped 23 shots in Tampere.

Teemu Hartikainen gave the hosts a 1-0 lead late in the opening period on a power play before Ganthier tied it from the left circle in the second.

O’Çonnor and Tuch completed the rally midway through the final period. Tuch scored his second into an empty net.

In the Latvian capital of Riga, the Czech Republic beat Slovakia 3-2.

Last year’s runner-up, Canada, faced Latvia in its opener late Friday while Sweden played Germany in Tampere.

Finland and Latvia are staging the tournament after the hosting rights were stripped from Russia because of the war in Ukraine. Tampere was one of the host cities last year, and Riga was a host in 2021.

Russia and its ally Belarus are excluded from the tournament for the second straight year.

(Copyright (c) 2022 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox