United States enjoyed a thrilling opening victory ©IIHF

United States opened the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championships in sensational fashion with a 5-4 overtime victory over arch-rivals Canada today in Herning.

Cam Atkinson scored two superb shootout goals to separate the teams in the Group B encounter at the Jyske Bank Boxen. 

In the first, he tricked Canadian goalie Darcy Kuemper to the glove side before sending the puck to the stick side second time around.

A save by Keith Kinkaid then secured the victory.

It came after the Americans had barely survived to make the shootout after a Canadian-dominated overtime period.

Canada had 15 shots overall in comparison with just five for the eventual winners, but the resilience of the Americans was key.

Russia proved utterly dominant in a 7-0 victory over France elsewhere today at the Royal Arena in Copenhagen.

Russia enjoyed a comfortable opening victory ©IIHF
Russia enjoyed a comfortable opening victory ©IIHF

They required three minutes of the first period to take a 3-0 lead and never looked like relinquishing it.

Kirill Kaprizov led the way with two goals and an assist.

Yevgeni Dadonov added a goal and an assist which Pavel Buchnevich, Alexander Barabanov and Maxim Shalunov all managed their first career World Championship goals for Russia. 

"It was a normal game, we made some mistakes as well," said Kaprizov. 

"We’ll need to keep improving from game to game.

"We allowed a few turnovers, and the coaches are telling us all about it. 

"Even so, it’s good to start with a big win."

The first stage of the competition sees the 16 teams divided into two groups of eight with the top four from each advancing to the quarterfinals.