PARIS â€” Switzerland threw away a 4-0 lead before scraping past Slovenia 5-4 in a shootout at the ice hockey world championships on Saturday.
The Swiss, beaten finalists in 2013, looked to have taken total control with a four-goal salvo in the first period, with Andres Ambuhl, Gaetan Haas, Romain Loeffel and Simon Bodenmann all on target.
Slovenia pulled goaltender Gasper Kroselj and replaced him with Matija Pintaric and clawed its way back with a goal from former Detroit Red Wings right winger Jan Mursak midway through a feisty second period. Winger Robert Sabolic went on to level the match with five minutes remaining.
After overtime failed to separate the sides in Paris, Swiss forward Damien Brunner scored the first and only goal in the shootout, with the next two Swiss players failing to score. Rok Ticar, Sabolic and Mursak were those to miss for Slovenia.
Czech Republic, the 2010 world champion, was in Group B action later Saturday against Belarus in Paris, where co-host France was playing against Norway.
In Group A, Latvia beat Denmark 3-0 in Cologne. Later, co-host Germany faced Sweden and Italy took on Slovakia.
Germany caused an upset on Friday night by beating the United States 2-1, while 26-time champion Canada eased past the Czechs 4-1. Russia and Finland also won their openers.
The matches are split between Paris and Cologne, with the top four from each group advancing to the quarterfinals.
The Associated Press