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Finland Edges Slovakia At Worlds

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
It was the final day of the prelims as teams fought for seeding in the second round of the World Championships.

That last day produced a surprise in Quebec City as Sweden and Magnus Johansson fell to Switzerland 4-2. The loss dropped the Swedes from the unbeaten ranks. Halifax saw a close affair as Finland with Olli Jokinen and Ville Peltonen outlasted Slovakia and Branislav Mezei 3-2. With the loss, Slovakia dropped into the relegation round where they have to win their series against Slovenia to avoid being dropped from .

Magnus Johansson (Getty Images)
(Quebec City) The Swiss came ready to play against the favored Swedes, scoring two of the first three goals in the first period. Thierry Paterlini got them on the board 48 seconds into the contest while Sweden tied it up at one when Fredrik Warg scored at 10:47 of the first. Switzerland regained the lead when Andres Ambuhl’s shot found the back of the net with 3:25 remaining in the period.

The two teams played a scoreless second period and when they hit the ice to start the third, Switzerland was determined to build on their lead.

Thibaut Monnett scored to make the score 3-1 for Switzerland 5:23 into the final period and that held up as the game winner as Anaheim’s Jonas Hiller then held the powerful Swedish offense off the board until the remaining seconds. Hiller stopped 10 shots in the period as the only shot to get past him came off the stick of Patric Hornqvist with 59 seconds left in the contest. Beat Forster scored with seven seconds left to finish off the scoring.

Johansson had two shots on net on 22:46 of ice time.

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Ville Peltonen (Getty Images)
(Halifax) In a thrilling game in Halifax, Finland outlasted Slovakia by a 3-2 score as four of the five goals were scored in the initial period.

Niko Kapanen (Phoenix) scored the game’s first goal, giving Finland the 1-0 lead 2:05 into the contest. Chicago’s Tuomo Ruutu then made it 2-0 Finland when his shot beat netminder Peter Budaj (Colorado) with 7:00 remaining in the period.

But the lead didn’t last for Finland. Robert Petrovicky scored Slovakia’s initial goal just 14 seconds after Ruutu’s goal and Miroslav Kovacik tied the score at two with 1:39 left in the period.

After a run-and-gun first, both teams settled down and then bogged down as the next goal would end up winning it. That goal came off the stick of Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne as both Peltonen and Jokinen set up the Duck for a power play goal, and the eventual winner.

The reason it was the winner was because neither team could solve the opposing team’s netminder. Budaj stopped 14 and 16 shots in the last two periods while Minnesota’s Nicklas Backstrom stopped 6 and 14. Slovakia even had two power play attempts in the last period to tie the score, but came up empty.

Jokinen had the assist, three shots on net, and 16:26 of ice time while Peltonen finished with the assist on three shots and 19:37 of ice time.

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