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U.S. fights back to beat Latvia 5-3 at ice hockey worlds

Members of the US hockey team celebrate during the group A hockey match between Latvia and USA at the 2017 Hockey World Championships in Cologne, Germany, Saturday, May 13, 2017. (Monika Skolimowska/dpa via AP)

COLOGNE, Germany (AP) — The United States fought back from two goals down to beat Latvia 5-3 Saturday and move to the top of Group A with its fourth win at the ice hockey world championship.

Dylan Larkin, with seven assists going into the game, sealed the win with an empty-net goal after Andrew Copp put the U.S. in front for the first time with 3:22 remaining in Cologne.

Detroit Red Wings center Larkin remained the only American player to score at least a point in each of the first five games. Connor Hellebuyck made 20 saves for Jeff Blashill's roster.

It started badly for the U.S. with Teodors Blugers opening the scoring midway through the first period and Kaspars Daugavins making it 2-0 at the start of the second, assisted by Andris Dzerins.

Anders Lee and Danny Dekeyser were penalized for tripping, and Dzerins for holding, as tempers frayed.

Lee came back to set up J.T. Compher's goal for the U.S., but another moment of indiscipline from Clayton Keller gave the Latvians yet another power play chance, duly taken by Oskars Cibulskis on a rebound after Hellebuyck blocked Miks Indrasis' initial shot.

Nick Bjugstad pulled one back again and Johnny Gaudreau equalized for the U.S. before the end of the second period with his fourth of the tournament.

Copp and Larkin's goals then ensured the U.S. stretched its winning run to four games, following its surprise 2-1 defeat to co-host Germany.

"It was a huge win given the early adversity," Copp said. "They played really hard especially those first two periods. We needed to get our legs under us a little bit and get into intensity mode. It was important for us to handle that adversity and inch back in the second and battle throughout the third."

Blashill's side tops the group ahead of second-placed Russia's game with Slovakia later Saturday in Cologne.

Markus Hannikainen scored the winner for Finland to beat Norway 3-2 in Paris, where two-time champion Canada faces Switzerland later in Group B.

Germany was also playing later against Italy.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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