Helsinki, Finland - Former Oilers forward Miroslav Satan scored two goals to lead Slovakia to a 3-1 victory over current Oilers forward Ales Hemsky and the Czech Republic in today's semifinal round at the 2012 World Hockey Championship.
After Russia punched its ticket to Sunday's gold-medal game with a dominant 6-2 win over host Finland earlier in the day, Slovakia continued its impressive playoff run with the win over the Czechs, following up a 4-3 upset over Canada during Thursday's quarterfinals. Russia and Slovakia will now play for gold on Sunday, while Hemsky and the Czechs take on Finland for bronze.
"We didn't play our game; we played up and down with them and it didn't work for us," Hemsky said after the semifinal defeat. "It's a hard loss, but we have another game."
Satan scored his first of two goals with 4:08 to go in the opening frame, as he burst down the left wing and snuck a low shot past Czech goalie Jakub Kovar. The Czechs replied in the middle frame, though, as Michael Frolik notched the equalizer, scoring on a wrist shot right off the draw with 9:15 on the clock.
The third period was all Slovakia, as Satan scored his second of the game on a shorthanded breakaway just 56 seconds into the period, and Libor Hudacek put them up by two with 15:37 remaining, cutting in alone on Kovar and deking him on the forehand. Jan Laco was the winning goalie for Slovakia, turning aside 36 of 37 shots.
Hemsky was a scoring threat for the Czechs throughout the semifinal match, but he and linemates Petr Nedved and Petr Koukal couldn't find the back of the net. Hemsky had five shots on goal in the game and has six points (five goals, one assist) so far at the tournament.
Russia missed the podium in 2011 but won two golds, one silver and one bronze in the four previous tournaments, while Slovakia has not earned a WHC medal since 2002 and 2003 when they captured gold and bronze, respectively. The Czechs will look to bring home bronze for the second consecutive year, after finishing first in 2010.
-- Ryan Frankson, edmontonoilers.com - with files from Tom Gazzola & Nyki Scheuerman on location in Helsinki