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Handzus Lifts Slovakia Past Canada in Worlds

by Staff Writer / San Jose Sharks

In Helsinki, Michal Handzus' power-play goal with 2:28 left in regulation sparked Slovakia to a 4-3 upset of Canada in the quarterfinals at the 2012 IIHF World Championship on Thursday.

The goal came four seconds after Canada captain Ryan Getzlaf was assessed a five-minute major and a game-misconduct for kneeing Slovakia forward Juraj Mikus.

Handzus tipped an Andrej Sekera point shot past Canada goalie Cam Ward, giving Slovakia its first win against Canada in seven tries, dating to the 2002 World Championship, when Slovakia won its only gold medal.

"He jumped inside on me," Getzlaf said of the play that led to his penalty. "He's a smaller guy. All I tried to do was get a piece of him with my shoulder, which I did. It's a sick way to lose; it's a tough pill to swallow. It hurts. It hurts like hell right now. To lose in that fashion is not easy to swallow. The guys worked way too hard to be delivered something like that."

Slovakia will face the winner of Thursday's quarterfinal game between Sweden and the Czech Republic in one semifinal Saturday.

It's the third straight year Canada has lost in the quarterfinals; they'll finish fifth or sixth, depending on the outcome of Thursday's Russia-Norway quarterfinal.

Slovakia took a 2-0 lead just 9:16 into the game on goals by Tomas Kopecky and Miroslav Satan, but Canada got a goal from Evander Kane before the first period ended, and after Jeff Skinner scored a power-play 6:30 into the second, Alexandre Burrows put Canada ahead with 2:17 left in the second when he shoved a loose puck under goalie Jan Laco. Laco finished with 33 saves on 36 shots.

Slovakia tied the game at 13:25 of the third when a Kane turnover led to a three-on-two break the other way. Milan Bartovic's first shot was blocked, but he beat goalie Cam Ward on the rebound. He finished with 24 saves on 28 shots.

"We're still flying under the radar," Sekera said. "We just tried to play hard 60 minutes as a team, fight for each other, and get the goals. We have a great team, especially off the ice. We help each other and try to make everybody else's life easier and more comfortable."

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