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Staal's OT goal earns Canada spot in quarters

5/7/2007

MYTISCHI, Russia -- Eric Staal scored 23 second into
overtime Sunday to give Canada a 4-3 victory over the Czech
Republic, but the point earned by reaching overtime still was
enough to advance the Czechs to the quarterfinals at the world
championships.

Also Sunday, Pavol Demitra scored the winning goal and Slovakia
reached the quarterfinals with a 4-3 victory over Belarus. Already
through to the final eight teams were the United States and Canada,
who meet Monday.

In Moscow, Johan Akerman scored and Johan Backlund made 38 saves
in Sweden's 1-0 win over Finland. Ilya Kovalchuk scored a goal and
set up another to lead Russia over Switzerland 6-3. Russia's
Alexander Ovechkin was suspended a game for a check to the head of
Valentin Wirz, who had a slight concussion. Ovechkin will miss
Monday's game against Sweden.

In relegation-round play, Ukraine defeated Norway 3-2 to keep
alive its hopes of remaining in world hockey's elite division. Both
teams still have a chance to play in the top division next year.

Marek Zidlicky gave the Czechs the lead with a slap shot from
inside the blue line that sailed over Dwayne Roloson's glove at
13:17. Erik Brewer was in the box for roughing.

Jay McClement evened the score for Canada at 2:15 of the second
period, flicking the puck over the shoulder of Roman Cechmanek, who
had stopped playing after hearing a fan's whistle.

Tomas Plekanek put the Czechs back in the lead on the power play
at 12:05 of the second period, but Staal made it 2-2 by beating
Cechmanek with a backhand at 3:22 of the third.

Rostislav Olesz then knocked in a rebound to make it 3-2 for the
Czechs at 6:36, but Shane Doan forced the extra period by shooting
through Cechmanek's pads at 10:57.

"We were chasing them all night. We've got to find a way to
eliminate penalties," Doan said. "At the end of the game they
were satisfied with the tie and they sat back a bit. They knew they
were on to the next round."

In a rematch of the gold medal game at the Turin Olympics,
Sweden and Finland played a free-flowing game that featured superb
goaltending at both ends.

But Finland goalie Kari Lehtonen made one mistake. On Akerman's
long shot from the blue line, Lehtonen gloved the puck but it
popped out and trickled across the line at 15:53 of the first
period.

"I was very surprised," Akerman said. "I had turned my back
on the play and didn't even see it go in the net. The last thing I
saw was the puck going high and wide and he was moving to catch
it."

Needing a regulation-time win to advance, Belarus pulled
goalkeeper Andrei Mezin for the extra attacker more than a minute
before the buzzer. Demitra then sent a pass from Marian Gaborik
into the empty net with 39 seconds left.