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Switzerland knocks out Canada in shootout to advance to hockey worlds final

Switzerland to face off against Czechs

Switzerland prevailed in a penalty shootout to stun Canada 3-2 and set up the final against the Czech Republic at the ice hockey world championship on Saturday.

Sven Andrighetto scored the decisive shootout goal after the game finished 2-2 in regulation with no team scoring in the 10-minute overtime.

The 28-time champion Canada had to settle for the bronze medal game against Sweden.

Kevin Fiala scored, added an assist and scored one of the two Swiss goals in the shootout. Nino Niederreiter also scored for Switzerland. Goaltender Leonardo Genoni stopped 42 shots.

“It couldn’t feel better,” Fiala said. “To be honest, it’s special for us to be in the final and it doesn’t matter who we play. I’m very proud of the team. Our goalie, Leo, was unbelievable.”

Earlier, Brandon Tanev scored with a backhand with 5:53 remining in the middle period to reduce Switzerland’s lead to 2-1. Captain John Tavares tied the game for Canada with 2:07 left in the final period on a power play when Connor Bedard fed him in the right circle to force overtime.

“That’s as close as it gets,” Tavares said. “It’s still hard to believe really. A lot of credit to the guys for sticking with it, battling back.”

Tavares said it was still not over for Canada: “We don’t wanna go home empty handed.”

Canada’s first shot on the Swiss goal only came after more than 11 minutes.

Fiala put the Swiss ahead with a slap shot from the point with 4:54 to go in the opening period on a power play for his seventh in Prague.

Niederreiter doubled the lead 2:10 later with another power play goal when defenseman Owen Power deflected his shot from the blue line into his own goal.

Switzerland outshot Canada 17-8 in the first.

Canada beat Switzerland 3-2 in the preliminary round last Sunday in Prague with all goals scored on power plays.

Switzerland also defeated Canada in the semifinals of the 2018 worlds, where the Swiss finished runner-up for their last medal.

Earlier, the Czech Republic produced a three-goal second period as it downed Sweden 7-3 and advanced to the final for the first time since 2010.

Forward Dominik Kubalik and Lukas Sedlak scored two goals apiece and added an assist each, while forward Martin Necas had a four-point game with a goal and three assists.

David Kampf and Ondrej Kase had a goal and an assist each for the Czechs and goaltender Lukas Dostal stopped 37 shots in front of the roaring home fans at Prague Arena.

“I play my best game when I enjoy myself at a game and here I’m enjoying it for 110%,” Necas said. “It was always my dream to play a semifinal and final in front of the Czech fans. But it’s not a job done, not yet. We have the most important match ahead of us tomorrow and we need to be ready.”

Necas became the first player with four points in a semifinal since Canada’s Luc Robitaille in 1994.

Marcus Johansson, Marcus Pettersson and Joel Eriksson scored for the Swedes, whose eight-game winning run in the tournament came to an end.

“We felt like we had some opportunities but it’s tough when you give up so many goals,” Pettersson said.

The Czechs jumped 5-2 ahead in the second period after the teams were tied at 2-2.

Kase gave the Czechs a 3-2 advantage from close range 6:05 in the period, and that was the first time the Swedes trailed in the tournament.

Necas doubled the advantage with a one-timed slap shot from the slot after Kampf won a faceoff 16 seconds later. Kubalik then made it 5-2 with a one-timer from the right circle that went between the pads of goaltender Filip Gustavsson.

The goalie was pulled after letting in five goals from 17 shots and replaced by Samuel Ersson.

Joel Eriksson reduced the Czech lead to 5-3 on a power play with his seventh goal of the tournament.

Sweden piled on the pressure in the third period but Sedlak stretched the lead to 7-3 with two breakaway goals, both going between the pads of Ersson.

“They were mentally stronger than we were today,” Sweden captain Erik Karlsson said. “They scored on pretty much all of the opportunities they got,” the star defenseman said.

Johansson picked up the puck near the boards on the right before scoring the opening goal 3:39 into the game.

Kubalik tied it at 7:48 on a rebound after a slap shot by Necas from the blue line.

The Swedes needed just 20 seconds to go 2-1 up through Pettersson, whose attempt from the left was deflected into the net by Czech defenseman Jakub Krejcik.

The Czechs answered again.

Necas set up the second by feeding Kampf from behind the goal to tie the game again at 2 all from the slot midway through the first.

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Karel Janicek, The Associated Press

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