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Swiss win knocks Canada out of U-18 medal contention

by Adam Kimelman
Cedric Hachler scored the game-winning goal with 1:32 left in regulation to give Switzerland a 3-2 victory Saturday against host Belarus at the IIHF World Under-18 Championship.
The victory clinched a spot in the quarterfinals for the Swiss, as they finished third in Pool A. In the process, Canada was eliminated from medal contention despite not playing. Even if Canada beats Sweden in its final preliminary-round game Sunday and finishes with the same 2-2 record as Switzerland, the Swiss' opening-day 3-1 victory against Canada would serve as the tie-breaker.
It's Switzerland's first trip to the quarterfinals since 2007, while Canada will miss medal play for the first time in the 11-year history of the elite under-18 tournament. The Canadians' previous worst finish was sixth.
Sweden, unbeaten heading into the game against Canada, already has clinched the top spot in Pool A, with the U.S. second. Sweden handed the U.S. its only loss thus far, a 4-2  decision on the first day of the tournament. The Americans beat Canada 5-0.
In Saturday's second game, Marek Tvrdon banged in the winning goal with just 40 seconds left in regulation to give Slovakia a 4-3 win over Latvia. Slovakia took a 3-0 lead, but Latvia stormed back in a quest for its first win of the tournament.
Slovakia now is in position, with a win Sunday against Russia, to force a three-way for the final two medal-round spots in Pool B with Russia and the Czech Republic. Unbeaten Finland clinched the top spot in the pool with its win Saturday against Russia. They play the Czech Republic to close preliminary-round play.
Joining Canada in the relegation round will be Belarus, Latvia and either Russia, the Czech Republic or Slovakia.
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