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World beaters? Not so much: 'It's the worst feeling'

Canada knocked out in quarters for fourth-straight year

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Canada players hang their heads after losing to Sweden 3-2 in a shootout on Thursday.

JACQUES BOISSINOT / THE CANADIAN PRESS Enlarge Image

Canada players hang their heads after losing to Sweden 3-2 in a shootout on Thursday.

STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Canada was eliminated in the quarter-finals of the IIHF World Championship for a fourth straight year with a 3-2 shootout loss to host Sweden on Thursday.

Fredrik Pettersson scored the winner in the fourth round of the shootout as Sweden moved on to a semifinal meeting with archrival Finland.

"It's the worst feeling obviously," said Canada goaltender Mike Smith. "Every time we put the Canada sweater on you are expected to win. This is tough to take."

Trailing 1-0, Nicklas Danielsson scored a pair of power-play goals in the third period to give the hosts a 2-1 lead. Canada's Claude Giroux tied the game just over a minute after Danielsson's second goal.

Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning scored a second-period power-play goal.

Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes stopped 30 shots in the loss, while Jhonas Enroth of the Buffalo Sabres made 39 saves for the win.

"Third period, we weren't on top of them as much as we could be," Canada coach Lindy Ruff said. "Their defending was a lot better. They made sure they had people back and didn't get caught through the neutral zone.

"Both teams defended well through the neutral zone and it made it an offensive or defensive zone game. In the end it turned into a special teams game."

Jacob Markstrom made a pair of saves in overtime while Enroth dealt with an equipment issue.

Canada extended its run of quarter-final losses in this tournament to four straight years. Canada last advanced to the semifinals in 2009 en route to a silver medal with Ruff as coach.

"It doesn't get any easier," said Canada forward Matt Duchene, who has been in the lineup for three of those losses. "Third time losing for me losing in this game and the fourth time for a couple of other guys. It hurts.

"I can't believe we lost. I thought we had the team to do it this year. It just shows you one game, anyone can win. We don't like that penalty shot rule, that's for sure. It sucks we couldn't keep playing overtime."

In other quarter-finals, Switzerland extended its unbeaten run in the tournament to eight wins with a 2-1 win over the Czech Republic. They'll face the United States, an 8-3 winner in Helsinki over a Russian team that had Alex Ovechkin in the lineup, in Saturday's semifinal.

Finland edged Slovakia 4-3 in Helsinki's other quarter-final. The semifinals and Sunday's bronze- and gold-medal games are in Stockholm.

Canada had beaten the host country 3-0 in the preliminary round, but that was before the arrival of Swedish forwards Henrik and Daniel Sedin and defenceman Alex Edler from the Vancouver Canucks.

The Swedes had more swagger in their step with the additions, although they'd been heaping the pressure on Canada by calling them the favourite to win.

Canada lost captain Eric Staal to a knee-on-knee collision with Edler in Sweden's zone at 15:52 of the first period. The Carolina Hurricanes forward went down writhing in pain and clutching his right knee. He needed assistance off the ice and did not return.

Edler was served a major and a game misconduct and threw his stick like a harpoon when he left the ice.

Ruff said he didn't have an update on Staal's status.

"It had some impact because there was a lot of shuffling going on, Ruff said. "Still we had our opportunities. One of the turning points was we built a 1-0 lead and if Steve scores on the breakaway, it might have given us a little bit of cushion. We didn't. We let them hang around."

Giroux atoned for his cross-checking penalty that allowed Danielsson to push Sweden up 2-1 at 9:35 of the third period by evening the game at 10:50.

Andrew Ladd's hard check along the boards knocked the puck loose towards the net. Ladd retrieved it and fed Giroux from behind the goal-line.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 17, 2013 C3

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Updated on Friday, May 17, 2013 at 8:19 AM CDT: adds photo

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