By David Gold

Andrea Chiarotti_27-03-12March 27 - Hosts Norway's misery at the Sixth International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships, which began yestrdayat Hamar Olympic Amphitheatre, continued as their dismal form continued against European champions Italy.

The Norwegians succumbed to a 2-0 defeat in Group B, and had no answer to an early strike from Andrea Chiarotti (pictured) followed by a goal from Florian Panker.

Norway enjoyed twice the number of shots compared to their rivals, but were left to rue missed opportunities as they fell to successive defeats, having been beaten 4-1 by South Korea on the opening day of the tournament.

Canada, having defeated Italy in its opening Group B game, saw off South Korea 2-0 with goals from Brad Bowden and Greg Westlake.

"It's the World Championships, so everyone's come here prepared to play and compete hard," said Mike Mondin, Canada's head coach.

"But second to that is every team has improved and it's a testament to how the game of sledge hockey is evolving.

"It gets better and better, and that's really good for the game."

The Canadians are looking to claim their third world crown, and are well placed to triumph having been in superb form of late.

Elsewhere, the United States were beaten 2-1 in a tense shoot-out by the Czech Republic in Group A to leave the reigning champions needing a positive result from their final game of the group stages.

The Americans had secured victory over Estonia, also following a shoot-out, in their opening encounter, but could not repeat the feat against the Czechs, who added to its win against Japan.

Danny McCoy_27-03-12
Danny McCoy (pictured) had put the US ahead early on but Michal Geier quickly equalised for the Czechs, who went on to claim a 2-1 triumph in the shoot-out.

The undefeated Czech Republic – now assured of a semi-final place – are next in action in Group A when it takes on Estonia who lost 2-0 to Japan following strikes from Kazuhiro Takahashi and Daisuke Uehara.

Japan faces the US with the winner joining the Czechs in the last four, while Italy meets South Korea with a similar scenario taking place.

Canada crosses swords with Norway in the other Group B game, with the hosts looking to salvage some lost pride in front of Princess Märtha Louise of Norway.

The tournament runs until April 1.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
March 2012: Hosts Norway take a thrashing at IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships
March 2012: Canada's Ice Sledge Hockey team join soldiers in clinic
March 2012: US ice sledge hockey squad looking forward to defend world title
March 2012: Ice sledge hockey World Championships set to get underway in Norway
March 2012: Buffalo boys to lead US squad at Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships