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Canada's James Neal was taken to hospital Tuesday after he caught a high stick in the face. ((Misha Japaridze/Canadian Press))

Canadian forward James Neal was taken to hospital Tuesday after he caught a high stick in the face in the first period of Canada's game at the IIHF World Hockey Championships in Switzerland.

Neal collided with Slovakia's Ladislav Nagy in the neutral zone about three minutes into the first period, and the Slovak forward's stick appeared to come up and hit Neal in the face on the play.

Neal had a cut near his eye and was taken to hospital for stitches.

No penalty was called on the play.

In action earlier Tuesday, Russia was down 2-1 after the first period, but the defending champions came back to beat Switzerland 4-2.

Ilya Kovalchuk scored a goal and assisted on two others for the Russians, who finished at the top of Group B with a record of 3-0.

Martin Pluss and Canadian-born Ryan Gardner scored for the Swiss, who finished second in the pool (1-1-1).

Both Russia and Switzerland had already qualified for the second round. Twelve teams advance to round two, which begins Thursday.

Also on Tuesday, Belarus beat Hungary 3-1.

With files from The Associated Press