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Slovaks' final win too late for medal

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
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Rangers forward Marian Gaborik and the host Slovaks snapped a four-game slide and got back to winning on Monday afternoon at the IIHF World Championship tournament in Bratislava, but the victory came after Slovakia had already been eliminated from medal contention.

The Slovaks downed Denmark 4-1 in their final qualification-round game to complete the tournament with a 2-4-0 record.

Slovakia, which outshot Denmark 43-18, will wait on the results of other games to determine its final placement in the tournament, which can be no higher than ninth -- a great disappointment to the thousands of local fans who had been hoping for the nation's first gold medal since 2002.

Rangers forward Marian Gaborik plays the puck in front of a Danish defender during Slovakia's 4-1 win to close out their six-game run at the IIHF World Championship tournament on Monday afternoon.
The team ended on a winning note, however, and gave a nice sendoff to longtime national team member and former NHL star Pavol Demitra, who announced that he was ending his international hockey career on home ice. The 36-year-old Demitra, who scored 768 points in 847 NHL games, has one year left on his KHL contract. He said that rather than retire, he will honor his contract and  return to the KHL next season.

Gaborik had five shots on goal in 14:55 of ice time. Three of his shots came in the second period. He finished the tournament with two goals and an assist in six games, and he led Slovakia by a wide margin in total shots on goal with 32.

After faling behind 1-0 on a Danish goal just 4:09 into the first period, Slovakia pulled into a tie at 10:10 of the first when former NHL star Jozef Stumpel scored off assists from Miroslav Jurcina and Miroslav Satan.

Just under six minutes later, Satan scored at 15:52 of the first to give the Slovaks the lead for good at 2-1.

There was no scoring in the second period, but Slovakia picked it up again in the third when Gaborik set up Marian Hossa for a power-play goal just 32 seconds into the final period to make it 3-1. Slovak goaltender Jaroslav Halak also registered an assist on the goal, which was Hossa's first of the tournament.

Richard Zednik closed out the scoring at 10:05 of the third, notching a third even-strength goal for his team.
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