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Finishing Pool Play On A Low Note

Wednesday, 05.12.2010 / 5:43 PM ET / World Championship
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Finishing Pool Play On A Low Note
By Glenn Odebralski for floridapanthers.com

It wasn't a good way of finishing pool play for the United States and Canada.

For the US, in fact, it was the worst case scenario. Falling 3-2 to Finland, the US dropped to 0-1-2 and finished fourth in their group meaning they have to play in the relegation round. Not anything a team wants to be a part of. And that was despite a very strong showing from Panthers netminder Scott Clemmensen who turned away 40 shots in the affair.

Canada on the other hand fell to Switzerland for the first time ever in World Championship play, losing 4-1. That cost them Group A as the Swiss finished in first with the victory.

It was a must win for both teams. Win and you take Group D. Lose and you'd be sent to the relegation round.

And unfortunately for the United States, they came up short. Yet again.

After falling 2-1 in overtime in each of their first two games, they fell 3-2 in the final game of pool play against Finland.

The United States actually got on the board first in the game, just 3:30 into the contest. Calgary's David Moss found some luck as his shot went in off of Juhamatti Aaltonen.

That would be all the US could muster past Petteri Vehanen until 17 seconds left in the game when St Louis' TJ Oshie scored a shorthanded goal to get it to 3-2.

In between, Finland held firm control of the game.

The Finnish attack laid siege on the US defense and Scott Clemmensen putting 43 shots on the Panthers netminder. He played admirably turning away all but the three.

Finland found the back of the net for the first time with 4:08 left in the second period as Leo Komarov beat Clemmensen with a low slaphshot from the blueline. They would take the lead just 18 seconds into the third on a power play goal by Jarkko Immonen. The Fins they would get the all important insurance goal, which turned out to be the game-winner from captain Sami Kapanen with 2:02 left to play in the game on a wrist shot from the slot.

Clemmensen was named the US' player of the game for his 40 save effort in the loss.

SWITZERLAND 4 - Canada 1
In yet another upset to close up pool play in Group A, Switzerland upended Canada 4-1 in Mannheim.

It was the first time in 76 years of World Championship hockey that Switzerland defeated Canada (Canada had 22 victories and 2 ties prior to the defeat).

Switzerland scored the game's first two goals, building a 2-0 lead 14:03 into the first. Ivo Ruthemann beat St Louis' Chris Mason on a redirect at the 11:47 mark while Martin Pluss netted his third of the tournament 2:16 later.

Canada would cut the lead in half just 26 seconds after Pluss goal however as the NY Islanders John Tavares rebounded Colorado's Matt Duchene's initial shot past Tobias Stephan for his third of the tournament.

From there, the Swiss defense went to shutdown mode, with Stephan turning away all 18 shots in the last 40 minutes of play.

With Stephan stopping shot after shot, Switzerland regained their two goal lead 1:38 into the second. Andreas Ambuhl scored by banking it off of Mason. Then 5:29 into the third, Thomas Deruns would push the score to 4-1 with a blast on a Swiss rush.

With the win, Switzerland finishes atop Group A while Canada finishes second.

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