In Helsinki, Michal Handzus' power-play goal with 2:28 left in regulation sparked Slovakia to a 4-3 upset of Canada in the quarterfinals at the IIHF World Championship on Thursday.
The goal came four seconds after Canada captain Ryan Getzlaf was assessed a five-minute major and a game-misconduct for kneeing Slovakia forward Juraj Mikus.
Team Slovakia has eliminated Canada with a 4-3 quarterfinals win. (Photo: Getty Images)
Handzus tipped Andrej Sekera's point shot past Canada goalie Cam Ward, giving Slovakia its first win against Canada in seven tries, dating to the 2002 World Championship, when Slovakia won its only gold medal.
"He jumped inside on me," Getzlaf said of the play that led to his penalty. "He's a smaller guy. All I tried to do was get a piece of him with my shoulder, which I did. It's a sick way to lose; it's a tough pill to swallow. It hurts. It hurts like hell right now. To lose in that fashion is not easy to swallow. The guys worked way too hard to be delivered something like that."
Slovakia will face the Czech Republic in one of Saturday's two semifinals. The Czechs advanced by upsetting Sweden 4-3 in Stockholm. It's the third straight year Canada has lost in the quarterfinals. Canada officially finished fifth after Russia beat Norway and Finland edged the United States in the other quarterfinal games.
Slovakia took a 2-0 lead just 9:16 into the game on goals by Tomas Kopecky and Miroslav Satan, but Canada got a goal from Evander Kane before the first period ended, and after Jeff Skinner scored a power-play 6:30 into the second, Alexandre Burrows put Canada ahead with 2:17 left in the second when he shoved a loose puck under goalie Jan Laco.
Laco finished with 33 saves on 36 shots.
Slovakia tied the game at 13:25 of the third when a Kane turnover led to a 3-on-2 break the other way. Milan Bartovic's first shot was blocked, but he beat Ward on the rebound. Ward finished with 24 saves on 28 shots.
"We're still flying under the radar," Sekera said. "We just tried to play hard 60 minutes as a team, fight for each other, and get the goals. We have a great team, especially off the ice. We help each other and try to make everybody else's life easier and more comfortable."
Czech Republic 4, Sweden 3
Milan Michalek scored the winning goal with 29 seconds remaining in regulation, eliminating Sweden in the quarterfinals and capping a day of stunning finishes.
Just hours after Finland advanced on Jesse Joensuu's game-winner with nine seconds remaining in regulation, the Czechs got their own shocking last-minute winner from Michalek, who stole the puck from Nicklas Kronwall in the corner of Sweden's zone, skated toward the net and snapped a perfect shot over the left shoulder of Sweden goaltender Viktor Fasth. With his second goal of the tournament, Michalek gave the Czech Republic an opportunity to medal at the Worlds for the third consecutive year.
Against a Swedish team propelled by the partisan Stockholm crowd, the Czechs appeared to be in tough, especially when they abandoned their typical tight-checking style in favor of a more wide-open approach. But that liberal game plan served them well, even after Loui Eriksson opened the scoring 7:10 into the game, with linemate Henrik Zetterberg earning his tournament-leading 12th assist on the play.
Less than six minutes after Eriksson's goal, Petr Nedved scored his third of the tournament to even the score. Nedved, who at age 40 is the oldest player to make his debut for the Czech national team at the Worlds, redirected a shot by Jakub Nakladal past Fasth to put the Czechs on the board. Jiri Novotny gave the Czechs their first lead of the game five minutes later, beating Fasth with three minutes remaining in the opening period. When Martin Erat scored midway through the second period, just 18 seconds after Jonathan Ericsson was sent to the penalty box for tripping, the Stockholm crowd was stunned.
Sweden fought back, with Zetterberg leading the charge. The Red Wings star scored an unassisted goal with 45 seconds remaining in the second, and when Ericsson redeemed himself for his earlier penalty by scoring the tying goal 45 seconds into the final period, the local crowd was whipped into a frenzy.
The rest of the third period was typical of a back-and-forth affair in which the teams combined for 71 shots and appeared destined for overtime. That was until Michalek poked the puck away from Kronwall, who was headed up the ice, then beat Fasth for the game-winner. With the goal, Michalek, who established a career high with 35 goals for Ottawa this season, set up a semifinal matchup with Slovakia, who beat Canada in their first quarterfinal appearance in five years.