Slovakia knocked defending Olympic champion Sweden out of the Olympic men’s hockey tournament Wednesday night with a 4-3 victory in the quarter-finals.
Marián Gáborík, Andrej Sekera, Pavol Demitra and Tomáš Kopecký scored for the Slovaks, whose superior team speed kept the Swedes at bay.
“It’s the biggest achievement so far in the short history of Slovak Republic,” Slovak forward Miroslav Šatan said. “We are definitely going to enjoy it for a while and then focus on the next game.”
Sweden’s Nicklas Lidström, who scored the winning goal in the championship game at the Torino Olympics, had his last shot stopped by Jaroslav Halák as time expired.
The Slovaks will play Canada on Friday night in the semifinals for a spot in the gold-medal game. Even with a loss, Slovakia will have its best finish since competing at the Olympics for the first time in 1994.
The Slovaks finished fifth at the 2006 Games and have looked like medal contenders in Vancouver since their shootout win over Russia in group play.
Entering the game, Sweden’s Henrik Lundqvist had not allowed a goal in Vancouver, but he let three straight pucks get past him in the second period. He finished with just 10 saves.
Lundqvist did have an excuse when Gáborík scored midway through the second period. The goaltender said a Slovak player kicked his stick away, forcing him to use a defenceman’s stick instead.
“It should have been a call, but I’m not going to whine about it now,” Lundqvist said. “It’s frustrating.”
Halák made 26 saves for Slovakia, which played without forward Ľuboš Bartečko, who suffered a concussion in Tuesday night’s win over Norway. He might return to play against Canada.
“There is a chance, but we will respect the decisions of our doctors,” Slovak coach Jan Filc said.
Gáborík and Sekera broke open a scoreless game by scoring in a 37-second span midway through the second period, but the Swedes responded with their own pair of goals, also in a 37-second span, from Patric Hörnqvist and Henrik Zetterberg.
Demitra then scored the goal late in the second period that gave Slovakia the lead for good, slapping a shot that Lundqvist didn’t see because the goalie’s view was obstructed. Kopecky made the score 4-2 by scoring off a rebound in the third period.
Daniel Alfredsson scored 38 seconds later to pull Sweden within a goal, but the Swedes fell short with an aging team that welcomed back 13 players from the 2006 Olympics. The game marked the end of an era for Sweden, which won’t have Lidström or Peter Forsberg or coach Bengt-Åke Gustafsson back for the Games in Sochi, Russia, in 2014.
Lidström and Forsberg acknowledged this will be their final Olympics. The Swedish Ice Hockey Association announced last month that Gustafsson would quit after the Vancouver Games and the coming world championships in Germany, to be replaced on 1 June by Pär Mårts.
“It’s tough the way we lost,” Forsberg said. “This is not the way we wanted it to end.”
09:31 – 🇸🇪 PEN – Påhlsson, roughing
10:22 – 🇸🇰 PEN – Zedník, interference
11:36 – 🇸🇪 PEN – Johansson, tripping
16:04 – 🇸🇪 PEN – Tallinder, hooking
26:19 – 🇸🇪 PEN – team, too many players
27:34 – 🇸🇰 PP GOAL – Gáborík (Marián Hossa, Demitra)
28:11 – 🇸🇰 GOAL – Sekera (Zedník, Pálffy)
33:49 – 🇸🇪 GOAL – Hörnqvist (Forsberg)
34:26 – 🇸🇪 GOAL – Zetterberg (Enström)
38:16 – 🇸🇪 PEN – Enström, tripping
39:12 – 🇸🇰 PP GOAL – Demitra (Chára, Marián Hossa)
39:33 – 🇸🇰 PEN – Cibák, tripping
42:41 – 🇸🇰 PEN – Gáborík, roughing
49:01 – 🇸🇰 GOAL – Kopecký (Marián Hossa, Demitra)
49:39 – 🇸🇪 GOAL – Alfredsson (Bäckström, Eriksson)
W: 🇸🇰 Halák (26-29)
L: 🇸🇪 Lundqvist (10-14)
SHOTS ON GOAL
🇸🇰 7+4+3 = 14
🇸🇪 7+12+10 = 29
🇸🇰 Goaltenders: Peter Budaj, Jaroslav Halák. Defence: Ivan Baranka, Zdeno Chára (C), Milan Jurcina, Andrej Meszároš, Andrej Sekera, Martin Štrbák, Ľubomír Višňovský. Forwards: Ľuboš Bartečko, Martin Cibák, Pavol Demitra (A), Marián Gáborík, Michal Handzuš, Marcel Hossa, Marián Hossa (A), Tomáš Kopecký, Žigmund Pálffy, Branko Radivojevič, Jozef Stümpel, Miroslav Šatan, Richard Zedník.
🇸🇪 Goaltenders: Jonas Gustavsson, Henrik Lundqvist. Defence: Tobias Enström, Magnus Johansson, Niklas Kronwall, Nicklas Lidström (C), Douglas Murray, Johnny Oduya, Henrik Tallinder, Mattias Öhlund. Forwards: Daniel Alfredsson (A), Nicklas Bäckström, Loui Eriksson, Peter Forsberg, Johan Franzén, Patric Hörnqvist, Samuel Påhlsson, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Mattias Weinhandl, Henrik Zetterberg (A).
|🇸🇰 SLOVAKIA||vs.||SWEDEN (C) 🇸🇪|
(previous 22 Feb 2006)
(since 21 Feb 2010)
(+ 2 ties)
|First IHLC Meeting (SVK vs. SWE)
🇸🇰 SVK 4-4 SWE 🇸🇪 – 13 Feb 1994 – OG – Lillehammer 🇳🇴
|Previous IHLC Meeting (SVK vs. SWE)
🇸🇰 SVK 3-0 SWE 🇸🇪 – 21 Feb 2006 – OG – Turin 🇮🇹
|Last IHLC Game
🇸🇪 SWE 3-0 FIN 🇫🇮 – 21 Feb 2010 – OG – Vancouver 🇨🇦
|Next IHLC Game
🇨🇦 CAN 3-2 SVK 🇸🇰 – 26 Feb 2010 – OG – Vancouver 🇨🇦