Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Hard-Working Slovaks Upset Sweden to Win Bronze Medal at World Juniors

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Hard-Working Slovaks Upset Sweden to Win Bronze Medal at World Juniors

Article excerpt

Slovaks upset Sweden to win bronze

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TORONTO - Captain Martin Reway set up three goals, including Pavol Skalicky's winner early in the third period, as Slovakia capped a remarkable tournament by upsetting Sweden 4-2 on Monday to win bronze at the world junior hockey championship.

The Slovaks won their only other medal, a bronze, in 1998-'99, in Winnipeg. Eighth last year, they leave this tournament with wins over Finland, the Czech Republic, Germany and Sweden, losing only to Canada (twice) and the U.S.

Sweden pulled its goalie with 2:28 remaining, only to see Reway set up Patrik Koys for an empty-net insurance goal at 19:04.

Slovak goalie Denis Godla, one of the stars of the tournament, raised his arms in triumph as the final buzzer went before he was mobbed by his teammates.

The Swedes fought back after digging themselves an early 2-0 hole but their finishing -- and some loose defence -- failed them.

With the game tied 2-2, the hard-working Slovaks started the third on a five-minute power-play after Julius Bergman received a five-minute penalty for interference and a game misconduct for felling Koys at the end of the second. Koys needed help to get off the ice after being seemingly high-sticked in the neck but returned in the third.

Pavol Skalicky took advantage, beating goalie Linus Soderstrom between the legs from the slot after a perfect pass from Reway, a Montreal Canadiens' prospect, at 2:52.

David Soltes and Mislav Rosandic also scored for Slovakia, which got another stellar performance from Godla.

William Nylander and Jens Looke scored for Sweden. Both teams had 28 shots on goal.

While there were empty seats, the game drew an enthusiastic crowd -- most clad in red Canadian jerseys ahead of the gold-medal showdown -- that cheered on Nylander every time the Toronto Maple Leaf prospect's name was announced. The stylish forward had a goal and six shots in the first alone.

Down 2-0 after four minutes, the Swedes rallied to open holes in the Slovak defence and went into the first intermission tied 2-2. But Slovakia did not back down in a scoreless second that saw the Swedes' finishing unable to match their often slick buildup.

Sweden led Group B with a 4-0-0-0 record and beat Finland 4-0 in the quarter-finals before losing 4-1 to Russia in the semifinal. …

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