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Canada edges Russia to make final of Hlinka tourney @NHLdotcom

Canada scored in both the opening and final minute of the first period and held on to defeat Russia 3-1 in a semifinal at the 2013 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka played Friday in Piestany, Slovakia.

The Canadians will play the United States, a 5-3 winner over the Czech Republic in Friday's other semifinal, for the championship on Saturday. The Czech Republic faces Russia for third place.

"I think we just keep pushing ahead," said Spencer Watson, named Canada's MVP for the game. "As a team now we're playing great and I think we'll have a great chance in the gold medal game."

Watson was credited with the game's opening goal at the 39-second mark, breaking into Russia's zone and slipping the puck between the pads of goalie Sergei Korobov.

"I guess I just made a few good moves on the D and slid it through the five hole on the goalie and luckily it went in," he said. "It was a huge goal."

Canada outshot Russia 10-5 in the first period and doubled its lead with 40 seconds left when Sam Bennett tapped a loose puck into the net.

The shots were even more lopsided in the second, 15-5 in favor of the Canadians, but Russia halved its deficit on a power-play goal by Damir Sharipzyanov, a wrist shot over the glove of Julio Billia with 4:59 remaining.

The Canadians killed a 5-on-3 power play for Russia early in the third and Clark Bishop scored into an empty net with 1:02 left in the game to seal the victory.

"We weren't expecting a lot of penalties," Canada coach Dominique Ducharme said. "We wanted to be staying out of the box because we respect their power play a lot. We expected a tight game and that's what we wanted to play."

The arena scoreboard stopped working with around one minute to play in the second, reportedly due to a lightning strike near the arena, and was not functional for the remainder of the game. The arena announcer provided the time remaining in the third.

In other games Friday:

Finland 4, Switzerland 3 (SO): Mikko Rantanen scored the only goal in the shootout to lift Finland to fifth place in a game played at Breclav, Czech Republic.

After Rantanen beat goalie Kevin Fehr in the second round of the tiebreaker, Roger Karrer missed the net on the final attempt for the Swiss.

It capped a huge game for Rantanen, who scored Finland's first goal and helped them rally from a 3-1 deficit in the latter half of the third period by setting up scores by Juho Lammikko and Walterri Hopponen.

Switzerland built leads of 2-0 and 3-1 on goals by Edson Harlacher, Tobias Klopfer and Pius Suter, only to end up with its third consecutive shootout loss of the tournament.

Suter's goal off a redirect with 10:22 left in regulation had the Swiss in the driver's seat, but Lammikko answered on a Finland power play 1:55 later and Hopponen sent the game to overtime by putting a wrister just inside the post with 2:34 remaining.

Joonna Voutilainen was the winning goalie for Finland.

Sweden 11, Slovakia 0: William Nylander Altelius, Adrian Kempe and Daniel Muzito Bagenda each scored a pair of goals as Sweden routed host Slovakia in Piestany to claim seventh place.

After Nylander Altelius opened the scoring, Kempe had both his goals in the first period to put Sweden up 3-0, and they proceeded to blitz Slovakia with a six-goal second.

"We had a point to prove," Nylander Altelius said. "We think we should have gone a bit further in this tournament. We were hoping for semifinals but we couldn't make it, so this was a way to make a statement."

Sweden outshot Slovakia 34-16 for the game. Linus Soderstrom went most of the way in goal before Adam Werner played the final minutes to finish the shutout.

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