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Setbacks At Day 3 Of World Championship

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers

Finland 1, Slovakia 0

Two days after opening the 2012 IIHF World Hockey Championship with a 1-0 win over Belarus, Finland is showing the same stout defense that led it to the gold medal last year.

Despite not having a single NHL player on their blue line, the tourney co-hosts earned their second straight shutout of the tournament. With head coach Jukka Jalonen deciding to rest starting keeper Kari Lehtonen, Petri Vehanen stopped all 26 shots he faced and Janne Pesonen scored the game's only goal to give the Finns an impressive start to their defense of the world title in a 1-0 win against Slovakia Sunday.

Considering most of the players from last year's championship roster returned this year to play in front of their home crowd, it shouldn't be terribly surprising that defense is again leading the way for Finland. Last year's team allowed a miniscule 14 goals in nine games with Vehanen posting a tournament-best .954 save percentage.

Both Vehanen and Slovakian goaltender Jan Laco were kept busy early in a first period that saw the teams combine for 21 shots. But Finland gradually slowed the game down in the second, before allowing Slovakia only three shots in the third.

Slovakia resumes the tournament Monday against the Americans while Finland will host Switzerland the day after.

Panthers forward Tomas Kopecky finished with two shots on goal in 16:18 of ice time.


Latvia 3, Germany 2

Alksejs Sirokovs' power-play goal proved to be the winner as Latvia won their first game of the tournament 3-2 over Germany.

Both teams came out flying, combining for 27 shots in the first period, with Mikelis Redlihs scoring the lone goal of the period to put Latvia up 1-0. The shot total was lighter in the second, but the game was just as exciting in the middle frame with the two teams combining for three goals in just under nine minutes. Goaltender Edgars Masalskis helped the Latvians hold on for the win, making 35 saves, including 14 in the third.

Panthers forward Marcel Goc finished with 15:57 of ice time and won 53.3% of his draws (8-of-15).


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