In one of the biggest upsets of the tournament, Slovakia defeated Canada 4-3 in the quarterfinals of the 2012 IIHF World Championships.
San Jose Sharks forward Michal Handzus tipped home the game-winner with 2:28 left, capping a furious rally that saw Slovakia score twice in the final seven minutes to erase a 3-2 deficit.
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The loss stung Canada on a number of levels:
— The Slovak team was fairly undermanned, boasting just five NHLers (Handzus, Zdeno Chara, Andrej Sekera, Tomas Tatar and Tomas Kopecky.)
— That said, ex-NHLers Miro Satan, Ivan Baranka, Tomas Surovy, Kristian Kudroc, Mario Bliznak, Marcel Hossa and Branko Radivojevic are on the squad.
— This is Canada’s third straight quarterfinal loss at the WHC. “It’s deja vu,” general manager Kevin Lowe said.
— This tournament is of massive importance for world rankings, used to seed countries for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Canada entered this year’s WHC ranked 5th.
— Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf had a game to forget. His line was caught up ice on the tying goal and then took a kneeing major that led to Handzus’ winner.
“It hurts like hell right now,” said Getzlaf. “I feel like I let the guys down. 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.”