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Heatley, Spezza give Canada big lift

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Senators forward Jarkko Ruutu celebrates a first-period goal by Finland, which jumped out to an early 2-0 lead against Team Canada in their qualification-round game Monday in Kloten, Switzerland, at the 2009 IIHF World Hockey Championship. The Finns won 4-3 in a shootout (Jukka Rautio/HHOF-IIHF Images).

Team Canada lost the battle but won the war, so to speak.

After squandering a 2-0 first-period lead, Finland regrouped for a 4-3 shootout triumph on Monday at the Arena Zurich-Kloten, handing Canada its first defeat at the 2009 IIHF World Hockey Championship.

However, the point Canada earned for taking the game into extra time allowed it to earn the coveted top position in Group F of the qualification round. That means the Canadians get Latvia, the fourth-place team in Group E, in the quarter-finals on Thursday (10:15 a.m., TSN).

By virtue of topping its group, Canada can't possibly face Group E winner Russia – the tournament's lone unbeaten team – until the gold-medal game on Sunday.

Finland, meanwhile, will square off against the United States, which finished third in Group E, in a Wednesday quarter-final.

Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley of the Senators speaheaded the comeback which earned the valuable single point for Canada. After the Finns grabbed an early 2-0 lead, Spezza got Canada on the board with a power-play goal at the 16:02 mark of the first period. Parked behind the end line, Spezza banked in a shot off Finnish goaltender Pekka Rinne.

After Niko Kapanen restored the Finns' two-goal lead, Heatley – Canada’s all-time leading scorer at the world tournament – took charge. The Senators forward notched a pair of power-play goals, one each in the second and third periods, to push the game into overtime. Spezza assisted on the tying tally with 10:40 to play.

Finland, which outshot Canada 53-32, got the game-winner from Hynnes Hyvonen in the seventh round of the game-deciding shootout. Senators forward Jarkko Ruutu scored twice in the shootout and also assisted on the Finns' second goal, by Anssi Salmela.

Senators prospect Roman Wick had the game-winner 13 seconds into overtime as Switzerland edged the U.S. 4-3. But the result wasn't enough to get the host Swiss into the quarter-finals. But Nick Foligno, Ryan Shannon and the Americans will play on.

In the relegation round, Binghamton Senators centre Peter Regin and Denmark whipped Austria 5-2 to secure a berth in the 2010 world tournament in Germany.

For a complete 2009 world hockey championship schedule, click here.

For more pictures from the tournament, view our photo gallery here.

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