Don't be cruel: goaltender Elvis shuts out Danes

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Elvis Merzlikins was the hero for Latvia as they began their IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship campaign with a 3-0 win over Denmark.

Goaltender Merzlikins saved each of the 27 shots that came his way to ensure his side made a winning start in Cologne.

"Elvis came up with some big plays and shut the door," acknowledged Latvia coach Bob Hartley.

"Our box play was good and we applied good pressure, which was the plan. But without Elvis making key saves they [Denmark] would have taken the lead and we might not have won."

Saturday's remaining Group A fixtures saw Slovakia edge out Italy 3-2 thanks to Peter Ceresnak's overtime winner and Sweden thrash co-hosts Germany 7-2.

France, the other host nation, were beaten 3-2 by Norway in Paris.

Czech Republic bounced back from their opening-game defeat to defending champions Canada by thrashing Belarus 6-1, while Switzerland spurned a four-goal lead against Slovenia, but still triumphed 5-4 in overtime.

Switzerland goalie Jonas Hiller said: "It was almost too easy in the beginning. We got a couple of easy ones, which kind of gave us false confidence.

"At this level, if you let up by five per cent and the other team plays five per cent better, that's enough to turn the game around."