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Slovaks Upset United States At Worlds

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers

Slovakia 4, United States 2

Andrej Sekera scored the eventual game-winner in the closing seconds of the first period and Miroslav Satan sealed the biggest upset yet of the 2012 IIHF World Championship with an empty-netter in the final minute, as Slovakia defeated the United States 4-2 Monday at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki.

It is the first loss of the tournament for the U.S., which was coming off its big overtime win against Canada on Saturday, while the win is the first of the tournament for Slovakia.

The Slovaks jumped out to a surprising 2-0 lead early in the first period, as Dominik Granak beat American goalie Jimmy Howard just 47 seconds into the game and Branko Radivojevic doubled the lead 4:17 later. Panthers forward Tomas Kopecky registered his first point of the tournament, setting up the Slovaks second goal of the game.

The U.S. got on the board when Justin Faulk scored at 15:41 of the first, but Sekera's eventual game-winner took much of the wind out of the U.S. sails, as he put Slovakia up 3-1 with just six seconds to go before the first intermission.

The U.S. pulled within one goal late in the second, taking advantage of a two-man advantage when Paul Stastny scored to make the game 3-2, but that was as close as the Americans would get. Slovakia's Jan Laco stymied them the rest of the way, making 18 saves as the U.S. was badly outshot by a 32-20 margin and significantly hindered by a double minor for high sticking assessed to Cam Atkinson in the third period.

Kopecky finished with the assist and a shot while earning a plus-1 on 15:38 of ice time.


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