TURIN, Italy (AP) - Sweden coach Bengt-Ake Gustafsson got the result he wanted - and satisfied international hockey officials.
One day after creating a stir by suggesting his Olympic men's hockey team might be better off losing, the Swedes played NHL stars such as Peter Forsberg and Nicklas Lidstrom, dug for loose pucks in the corners and put hard shots on net.
Sweden just wasn't good enough Tuesday night to beat Slovakia, falling 3-0 as Peter Bondra, Marian Hossa and Radoslav Suchy scored for the unbeaten Slovaks.
Gustafsson indicated that losing to Slovakia in the Olympic preliminary match would give his team an easier opponent in Wednesday's quarterfinal. The loss means Sweden (3-2) will face Switzerland (2-1-2), instead of Canada or the Czech Republic.
"I said the Swiss, on paper, is the weakest team," Gustafsson said at a postgame news conference. "I stand behind that. That's a fact."
The International Ice Hockey Federation didn't appreciate his honesty.
IIHF president Rene Fasel said, through a spokesman, that he felt "concern, surprise and disappointment" with the coach's remarks and that they were out of place.
Kalervo Kummola, chief of the Finnish Hockey Association, monitored the game closely on behalf of the IIHF from a private section of seats close to the ice.
Kummola was pleased when he saw the lineups used and the intensity displayed by Sweden in the first period.
"It is very important that you play hard because people do not understand if you lose on purpose," Kummola said during the first intermission, with Slovakia leading 1-0.
When asked about Gustafsson's comments to Swedish TV on Monday, his players were angry and defensive.
"We always play to win games," forward Daniel Sedin said. "If you play for Sweden, you want to win games. It doesn't matter what you're playing for."
Sedin then muttered an expletive, and walked away from reporters.
The streaking Slovaks (5-0) will open with the Czechs (2-3) in the single-elimination quarterfinals.
"We are not too high because we know the tournament starts now," Bondra said.
Bondra, an Atlanta Thrashers standout, scored late in the first period on a slap shot that was so hard it tested the strength of the net.
Hossa, Bondra's NHL teammate, kicked the puck with his right skate to his stick and wristed a shot with Minnesota Wild defenseman Daniel Tjarnqvist draped on him early in the third period. Suchy of the Columbus Blue Jackets scored with 1:02 left.
Karol Krizan made 17 saves for the shutout, and Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Mikael Tellqvist stopped 28 shots for Sweden.
"Maybe we didn't give them a chance to open up the game," Bondra said.