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Russia, Slovakia skate to 3-3 tie

5/3/2005

INNSBRUCK, Austria -- Ville Peltonen and Kimmo Timonen
scored 3:25 apart in the second period to lift undefeated Finland
into the second round of the world hockey championship with a 4-1
victory Monday over winless Ukraine.

Finland (2-0) is atop Group C with rival Sweden (2-0), which
beat Denmark 7-0 later Monday and clinched a second-round berth.
Finland and Sweden will meet Wednesday in the final preliminary
round game.

In a Group A matchup in Vienna, Viktor Kozlov of the New Jersey Devils netted a goal with 2:21 left Monday to rally Russia into a 3-3 tie with Slovakia.

Slovakia (1-0-1) took a 3-2 lead on Lubomir Visnovsky's
power-play goal 1:27 into the third period, but Russia (1-0-1)
earned a key standings point. Slovakia also squandered a 2-0 lead
that was built on goals by Los Angeles' Ziggy Palffy and Marian Hossa of the Ottawa Senators.

Mikhail Grabovsky scored four goals for Belarus (1-1) in a 5-0
victory over Austria in the late Group A game at Vienna. Based on a
tiebreaker, Austria (0-2) was knocked into the relegation round for
the first time since 2000.

Russia and Slovakia lead Group A with three points each.

The United States, which routed Slovenia 7-0 on Sunday, will
return to the ice Tuesday against Latvia. Canada will also try to
improve to 2-0 when it plays Slovenia in the earlier game in
Innsbruck.

The two North American favorites will face off in a key game
Thursday that will go a long way in determining positioning for the
second round.

Antti-Jussi Niemi gave Finland a 1-0 lead midway through the
first period, and former Atlanta forward Tomi Kallio had two assists.

Finland outshot Ukraine 54-21.

Ukraine was whistled for 18 penalty minutes, and clearly annoyed
Finland with a rough edge to the game.

"I have no respect for their hockey style," said Florida's Olli Jokinen, playing in his eighth world championship. "We were
lucky that nobody got hurt. This was not a hockey game -- it was a
slashing competition. It's always the same thing when we play them.
I'm glad this is over.

"Sweden will be a better game."

Daniel Sedin led Sweden, the runner-up at the worlds the past
two years, with two goals in the easy victory over Denmark. His
twin brother Henrik Sedin, also his Vancouver Canucks teammate, added a
goal.

P.J. Axelsson of the Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators captain
Daniel Alfredsson, Magnus Kahnberg and Jonathan Hedstrom also
scored for Sweden, which outshot Denmark 51-12.

Russia and Slovakia played the best game of the tournament so far in the first round that began Saturday. The game featured more
than 20 NHL players and was very much in Slovakia's favor most of
the way until Kozlov got Russia even again.

Palffy gave Slovakia a 1-0 lead at 12:57, knocking in a shot
after the puck bounced to him off the boards. Hossa made it a
two-goal advantage midway through the game, but Ivan Nepryaev and
Andrei Markov scored to get the Russians into a tie before the
second period ended.

"I am very happy that my team showed the right spirit," Russia
coach Vladimir Krikunov said. "The character of the team and their
will to come back prove so-called experts wrong that we were not a
real team, but a bunch of stars."

The third period was sloppy and the game lost its fast pace
because of rapidly worsening ice conditions. Passes missed their
targets and the puck was bouncing instead of sliding.

"This is the worst ice I have ever played on," said Miroslav Satan, who played for the Buffalo Sabres before the NHL lockout that canceled the entire 2004-05 season.

Grabovsky, the Montreal Canadiens' fifth-round pick in 2004,
scored the first, second, fourth and fifth goals for Belarus.

Austria was missing seven key players, including NHL hopefuls
Thomas Vanek, Thomas Pock and Christoph Brandner.