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Slovakia shocks United States with 5-3 win in world junior quarter-finals

NHL.com @NHL

OTTAWA - Slovakia pulled off the first big upset of the world junior hockey championship with three first-period goals and 46 saves from Jaroslav Janus to defeat the United States 5-3 in the quarter-finals on Friday at Scotiabank Place.

Adam Bezak, Tomas Tatar and Jozef Molnar scored in the opening period on only eight shots against porous American goaltender Thomas McCollum of the Guelph Storm.

Richard Panik got one in the third and Tatar clinched the win with an empty-net goal with 2:14 left to play for Slovakia, which had not beaten the U.S. in eight games at the tournament since 1998.

The surprising Slovaks will be underdogs again when they face Sweden in the semifinals on Saturday. Russia faces the Czech Republic in another quarter-final later Friday night.

The United States outshot Slovakia 49-19 overall and Janus, the 19-year-old Erie Otters goalie who wasn't selected in last June's NHL draft, made acrobatic saves to keep hold the lead against a relentless American attack.

The Americans, beaten 7-4 by Canada on Wednesday in their final round robin game, got power-play goals from defencemen Ian Cole and Jonathan Blum and a late goal from James van Riemsdyk with McCallum pulled for an extra attacker.

Bezak went end to end down the right side and beat McCollum with a shot from the top of the faceoff circle 11:05 into the game.

Less than a minute later, a tic-tac-toe play with Colin Wilson and Jordan Schroeder was capped by Cole sliding a puck under Janus on a power play.

But Richard Panik stole a puck in the U.S. zone and sent Tatar in to score on a backhand shot at 13:41 and Molnar scored after Cole's clearing attempt hit one of the referees and stayed in the zone.

The Slovaks were outshot 16-2 in the second frame, but Janus held the lead, making a blocker save on Eric Tangradi on a backhander from the doorstep 12 minutes in and robbing Tyler Johnson with a glove grab at the side of the net at 16:55.

Janus made two more saves before the puck trickled behind him and Blum poked it in 5:31 into the third.

The mostly pro-Slovakia crowd announced at 18,042 cheered as video review upheld Panik's goal at 11:38 after he blew past Cole and put a shot off the post that went in off a body in front.

McCollum was pulled with about 2:30 left in the game, but a turnover at centre ice gave Tatar his second of the game and fourth of the tournament.

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