Kopecky leads Slovakia to men’s hockey quarterfinal upset win over Sweden 4-3

Tomas Kopecky scored the game-winning goal as Slovakia upset Sweden 4-3 in quarterfinal men’s hockey action on Wednesday night at the 2010 Olympic Games.

Kopecky made it 4-2 for Slovakia at 9:01 of the third after scoring off a rebound from a Marian Hossa shot.

Sweden came into the game unbeaten after round robin play with Sweden goaltender Henrik Lundqvist notching two shutouts.

The game began at a frantic pace with the Slovaks breaking in on a quick two-on-one but Kopecky was unable to beat Lundqvist.

Sami Pahlsson of Sweden took a roughing call at 9:31 of the first period sending Slovakia to the power play. The Slovak man advantage lasted only a few seconds as Richard Zednik was sent to the penalty box for interference at 10:22.

Both teams played four-on-four hockey until Sweden’s Magnus Johansson sent Slovakia back to the power play after a tripping penalty at 11:36 of the first. Slovakia was unable to take advantage on the power play.

Mattias Ohlund of Sweden came up with the play of the period as he hit Slovakia’s Marian Hossa with a massive body check as Hossa attempted to enter the Swedish zone.

Slovakia contained the Swedish offense well and kept the majority of the play in the neutral zone and the period ended scoreless.

Lundqvist’s Olympic shutout streak came to an end early in the second period as Sweden again found themselves short handed after a two many men on the ice penalty at 6:19.

With pressure in the offensive zone, a Marian Hossa pass set up a Gaborik one-timer that beat Lundqvist at 7:34 of the second to put Slovakia up 1-0 .Lundqvist’s had not allowed a goal for 147 minutes and 34 seconds of Olympic hockey.

A shaken Lundqvist, was quickly beaten once again as Zednik broke in to the Swedish zone and quickly passed it to a streaking Andrej Sekera who shot the puck past Lundqvist at 8:11 of the second to make it 2-0 for Slovakia.

Peter Forsberg made his presence known as pass to Patric Hornqvist in front of the net was shot off the post and in at 13:49 of the second to cut the Slovakia lead to 2-1.

Before, the Slovaks could come to grips that their lead had been cut in half it was gone entirely as a Henrik Zetterberg pass deflected off Slovak defender Milan Jurcina and past Slovakia goaltender Jaroslav Halak to tie the game 2-2 ,a mere 37 seconds after Hornqvist’s goal.

They inability to stay out of the penalty box for Sweden proved deadly as Pavol Demitra fired a shot past screened Sweden goaltender Henrik Lundqvist on the glove side with 48 seconds left in the second to make it 3-2 Slovakia.

After Demitra’s goal closed out the second, Slovakia fell into early penalty trouble as Sweden was on the power play for the majority of the first five minutes of the third period but Halak turned away all shots.

Down by two goals after the Kopecky goal,Daniel Alfreddson quickly cut the Swedish deficit back to one after Halek mishandled the puck behind the net and Sweden’s Nicklas Backstrom quickly passed the puck to Alfreddson who fired the puck past Halek at 9:39 of the third.

Henrik and Daniel Sedin led the Swedish attack in the frantic last five minutes with the best chance coming off the stick of Nicklas Lidstrom who was stopped by Halak with two seconds remaining to preserve the Slovakia win.

Halak stopped 26 of 29 shots for Slovakia while Lundqvist stopped 10 of 14 shots for Sweden

Power play opportunities played an integral part in the game as Slovakia went 2-for-5 while Sweden went 1-for-3.

Team Slovakia will face Team Canada in the semi-finals on Friday ,February 26 at 6:30 PST

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