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Sweden edges Finland 1-0 at IIHF World Championship; Ukraine defeats Norway

In Moscow, Johan Akerman scored and Johan Backlund made 38 saves in Sweden’s 1-0 win over Finland.

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.

However, 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.

Zdeno Chara of Slovakia and Aleksei Ugarov of Belarus each scored in the first period.

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The Slovaks reclaimed the lead when Gaborik scored back-to-back goals in the first five minutes of the second period. Belarus again replied with Oleg Antonenko scoring at 13:47 and Konstantin Koltsov adding the tying goal 30 seconds later.

“We talked about not underestimating them and at the beginning I think we did a bit,” Gaborik said.

In Moscow, Ilya Kovalchuk scored a goal and set up another to lead Russia over Switzerland 6-3.

Alexander Ovechkin was ejected from the game at 8:42 of the first period for a check to the head of Valentin Wirz, who needed to be helped off the ice. IIHF officials said Ovechkin could face disciplinary action.

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. Ukraine must beat Austria on Monday, while Norway needs to beat Latvia and have Austria beat Ukraine.