Slovaks, Swiss advance to qualifying round with wins over Germany, Italy

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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

In Moscow, Switzerland edged Italy 2-1 to advance with a 2-0 record. The Slovaks, who feature a US$15.5-million line in Marian Hossa, Marian Gaborik and Pavol Demitra, got off to a slow start in the Group C game.

The 2002 world champions scored only once in the opening period when Podhradsky shot a loose puck between Oliver Jonas' pads during a power play.

German head coach Uwe Krupp called a timeout when Germany found itself with a two-man advantage just seven seconds into the second period. But Daniel Kreuter wasted the chance when he was booked for hooking just 38 seconds later. It was during his time in the penalty box that Podhradsky scored his second goal on a corner pass from Richard Kapus.

Germany finally got on the board at 7:30 in the final period when Florian Busch used his stick to bat in Robert Dietrich's shot from the blue-line.

The goal seemed to galvanize the big names on the Slovak roster.

Less than two minutes later, New York Islanders' Miroslav Satan made a corner pass to Kapas, who flicked it over Jonas' left glove.

Gaborik, recovering from a virus, and Hossa, shaking off jet lag, then combined for a spectacular goal.

Gaborik stormed down the boards, deftly handling the puck as he leapt over a prone German defenceman, before passing to Hossa. The Atlanta Thrashers forward then rushed the net and might have scored but faked out Jonas with a quick short pass to the left, which Gaborik then banged in.

Radovan Somik closed out the scoring at 18:16.

"I think the last couple days I got some sort of virus and also a stomach flu," Gaborik said. "My body was a little bit weak but I felt pretty good today. Of course it's the first game and the rink is so big you have to get used to it."

Germany needs to beat Norway to avoid the relegation round.

In Group A, Ivo Ruthemann scored the winner at 11:57 of the third period when he tapped in a rebound off a shot from the point for Switzerland's second power-play goal.

Italy tied the game early in the third.

Roland Ramoser attempted a wraparound but the rebound off the pad of Swiss goalie Jonas Hiller came right out to Luca Ansoldi, who scored with a low shot on the glove side.

Switzerland opened the scoring on the power play at 15:44 of the first period.

With Carter Trevisani off for holding, Romano Lemm made a perfect pass from behind the net to Goran Bezina, who was left all alone and fired into a wide open net.

Despite the win, Swiss captain Mark Streit said he wasn't satisfied with the result.

"We have to make more of our chances and play better on defence," said the Montreal Canadiens player. "We'll have to raise our level for the next game."

Switzerland will face defending and Olympic champion Sweden in its final first-round game while Italy, which dropped to 0-2, will meet Latvia.



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