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Sweden Advances To Semi-Finals

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

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Sweden, the Czech Republic, Russia and Germany are moving on to the semifinals of the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship in Germany.

In Thursday's early quarterfinal action, Sweden defeated Denmark, 4-2, and the Czech Republic upended Finland in a shootout, 2-1.

In Thursday's late quarterfinal action, Russia defeated Canada 5-1 and Germany defeated Switzerland 1-0 to reach the semi-finals for the very first time.

Nikolai Kulemin and Franois Beauchemin were held pointless in the game.

At SAP Arena in Mannheim, Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jonas Gustavsson made 27 saves against Denmark, one of the surprise teams of the tourney, to lift Sweden to the final four. Marcus Nilson, formerly of the Panthers and Flames, gave Sweden a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes with a power-play goal.

One-time Nashville Predator Jonas Andersson and current Maple Leafs center Rickard Wallin (shorthanded) increased the lead to 3-0 with second-period scores. Jesper Damgaard put Denmark on the scoreboard at 13:18, assisted by Blues prospect Lars Eller and Islanders center Frans Nielsen.

Oilers prospect Linus Omark restored Sweden's three-goal cushion with a power-play goal at 3:17 of the third, and Denmark's Morten Madsen responded with a man-advantage goal, assisted by Nielsen and Damgaard, at 7:35 to close the scoring.

Goalie Patrick Galbraith made 35 saves for Denmark.

At Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Jan Marek, a former Rangers draft pick who now plays in Russia, scored the game-deciding shootout goal to give the Czech Republic a come-from-behind win. The victory wasn't clinched until Petri Kontiola missed with a high shot on Finland's third and final attempt.

Kontiola, who played briefly for the Chicago Blackhawks in 2007-08, staked Finland to a 1-0 lead only 55 seconds into the first period, beating Florida Panthers goaltender Tomas Vokoun with his third goal of the tournament.

The score remained 1-0 for more than 40 minutes until former Washington Capitals forward Jakub Klepis scored the equalizer on the power play for the Czech Republic at 1:12 of the third, beating Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne.

Finland outshot the Czech's, 35-30.

Sweden and the Czech Republic meet in the first semi-final on Saturday while Russia and Germany meet in the second semi-final.
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