Slovakia 4, Sweden 3



12:00 AM ET
February 25, 2010

Slovakia eliminates defending champ Sweden in quarterfinals

Updated: February 25, 2010, 2:38 AM ET

The defending champion won't medal ... again.

Slovakia knocked off 2006 Olympic gold medalist Sweden 4-3 in a quarterfinal matchup on Wednesday in Vancouver. It's the fourth straight time the defending champ lost in the quarterfinals.

No. 2-seeded Sweden was a heavy favorite, but the seventh-seeded Slovakians had other ideas. Marian Gaborik scored the first goal of the game at 7:34 of the first period, beating his New York Rangers teammate Henrik Lundqvist. Andrej Sekera then gave Slovakia a 2-0 lead less than a minute later.

But the second-period fireworks weren't done. The Swedes answered with two of their own -- by Patric Hornqvist and Henrik Zetterberg -- to tie it. Slovakia went on the power play, however, and Pavol Demitra scored with less than a minute to go in the period to restore the lead.

When the Chicago Blackhawks' Tomas Kopecky gave Slovakia a two-goal lead at 9:01 of the third, a country of 5 million started to celebrate. But a goal by Daniel Alfredsson made it 4-3 less than a minute later, and Slovakia had to endure a final flurry when Sweden pulled Lundqvist in the final minutes.

Slovakia can only celebrate so long as a matchup with Canada looms on Friday in the medal round.

Marian Hossa of the Blackhawks added three assists for Slovakia, and the Montreal Canadiens' Jaroslav Halak stopped 22 shots for the win.

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