Slovaks knock out Canada

Canada's goalie Cam Ward is stunned after Slovakia's Milan Bartovic (left) tied the game in the...

Canada's goalie Cam Ward is stunned after Slovakia's Milan Bartovic (left) tied the game in the third period at the world hockey championship in Helsinki on Thursday, May 17, 2012. Slovakia won 4-3, eliminating Canada from medal contention. (Grigory Dukor/Reuters)

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:12 PM ET

HELSINKI - Ryan Getzlaf was sick about it.

"It's a sick way to lose, a tough way to lose," said the Canadian captain who will wear a set of goat horns home from the world hockey championship.

"It hurts. It hurts like hell right now," he said of the part he played in a 4-3 loss to Slovakia which sent Canada out in the quarterfinal for the third year in a row.

"I felt like I let the guys down," said Getzlaf.

"To be in a hard-fought game like that and play the tournament we did and lose in that fashion, it's not easy to swallow as a group. The guys worked way too hard to be delivered something like that."

A five-minute kneeing penalty to Getzlaf with 2:32 remaining resulted in the winning goal being scored four second later on a deflection by Michal Handzus.

Four minutes earlier, Getzlaf and his line of Corey Perry and Evander Kane were caught up the ice on a goal by Slovak Milan Bartovic.

Getzlaf tried to get it to Kane deep in Slovakian territory, leaving all three trapped behind the play when he turned the puck over. The Anaheim Duck made a valiant attempt to get back to his own end, getting his stick on the puck as Bartovic fired. Unfortunately for Getzlaf, it ended up back on the Slovakian player's stick. Bartovic re-cocked and fired the goal to tie the game 3-3.

Getzlaf said Juraj Mikus, who was taken off the ice and directly to the dressing room, created the situation.

"He's a little guy and he jumped inside on me," he said.

"All I tried to do was get a piece of him with my shoulder."

Replays showed the knee-on-knee contact.

"They've got to call that penalty," said G.M. Kevin Lowe.

"Whether it was five minutes or two minutes turned out to be irrelevant."

Coach Brent Sutter said he had a look at the replay of the Getzlaf penalty.

"At that point and time, that's when you need your discipline to be where it needs to be. We let it get away on us," he said.

"I thought we were very hesitant and passive in the first 10 minutes. Then we got it going. We certainly dominated the second. We needed to score one on that 5-on-3 power play."

A capacity crowd in the Hartwall Arena cheered for the underdog Slovakians and whistled their displeasure with Canada throughout the game and exploded with delight with two late goals to bring Slovakia back.

While the Canadians told themselves going into the game that they were going to be gung-ho and excited about playing it instead of playing afraid-to-lose hockey, they were tentative early.

The team which opened round-robin tournament play with a 3-2 win over Slovakia, was down 2-0 on goals by Tomas Kopecky and Miroslav Satan before Kane scored late in the period.

In the second period, however, the Canadians came out and played like they promised they would the day before. They attacked the game and were all over the Slovaks.

Jordan Eberle, Jeff Skinner and Kane all hit goaltender Jan Laco on the mask in the second period.

Eberle failed on a backhand on a breakaway but Skinner scored on the rebound early in the period and Alex Burrows finally put Canada ahead late after the Canadians failed to score on a five-on-three power play.

"They were all over us everywhere and all the time," said Zdeno Chara of the second period domination by the Canadians.

"It was a small wonder we survived that period. But we grew when we held them on the five-on-three and in the end we found a way to win," he added.

"We certainly dominated the second. We needed to score one on that five-on-three power play," said Sutter.

While Getzlaf's penalty turned out to be the killer, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins took a boarding penalty exactly two minutes earlier which required killing and hardly helped the situation.

"I just went in and sort of pushed the guy and they decided to call that," said Nugent-Hopkins.

"It's certainly not the time when you want to take a penalty and I'm definitely disappointed. You can't go home happy now."

twitter.com/sunterryjones


Videos

Photos