Finland battled past Hungary to move to the top of Group B ©IIHF

Finland moved to the top of Group B at the men’s International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championship after overcoming a resilient Hungarian team at the Yubileyny Sports Palace in St. Petersburg.

Victories in their opening three matches had seen the Finnish team sit second in the standings, behind Canada on goal difference, but they were presented with an ideal opportunity to boost their scoring rate against winless Hungary.

The newly-promoted team, however, produced a strong display in the opening period of the match to head into the second with the score still locked at 0-0.

Atte Ohtamaa eventually broke the deadlock for Finland, with Mikko Koivu and Aleksander Barkov then finding the net in the final period to seal a 3-0 victory.

While victory places Finland at the top of Group B, albeit having played a match more than Canada, it sends Hungary closer to relegation after a fourth straight defeat.

Their misery was compounded when Belarus moved clear of the relegation spot after they produced a sterling fightback against Slovakia to earn their first win of the Championships.

Goals from Andrej Sekera and Tomas Jurco had given the Slovakian team a 2-0 lead heading into the final period of the match but they were left stunned as Belarus scored four answered goals in the final 20 minutes to claim victory.

Belarus earned their first points of the tournament after coming from behind to beat Slovakia
Belarus earned their first points of the tournament after coming from behind to beat Slovakia ©IIHF

"Certainly that first goal built so much momentum for us, just to get us on the board,” said Belarus’ Geoff Platt.

"And then the floodgates opened for us, because we felt we could play.

“We didn’t sit back at all, which is really important, the confidence just built.”

Sweden boasted their prospects of finishing in one of the top four positions in Group A, which would guarantee them a place in the playoffs, after they cruised to a 7-4 win over Kazakhstan.

The result saw Sweden move into second position in the group standings behind the Czech Republic, who are due to play Norway tomorrow.

Kazakhstan’s relegation fears were also heightened by their loss, but they are currently second bottom with Latvia propping up the standings after a 5-4 defeat to Switzerland, who are now third.