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Slovakia advances to quarter-finals

Team Switzerland's Tanner Richard reacts to losing to Team Slovakia's during third period IIHF World Junior Championships hockey action in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011. Team Slovakia beat Team Switzerland 6-4.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Jeff McIntosh/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Slovakia 6, Switzerland 4

Matus Chovan had a hat trick as Slovakia scored four unanswered goals to stun Switzerland 6-4 and move into the quarter-finals at the world junior hockey championships Saturday.



Chovan, Tomas Matousek, Martin Marincin and Martin Gernat each scored in a five-minute span to rally Slovakia back from a 4-2 deficit in the third period.

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The victory means Slovakia (2-2) will face Finland in the quarter-final Monday, while the Swiss (1-3) drop into the relegation round.



"This win for our small country is a great accomplishment," said Slovak coach Ernest Bokros. "We now go to the next round and everything from here on in is a bonus."



Finland advanced after beating the Czech Republic 4-0, while Russia faced Sweden later Saturday.



At Calgary, Chovan's big game came after he had failed to collect a single point in the team's first three games. He capped the comeback with the game winner at 8:15 in the third on a backhander from close range.



"We are happy with this win," said Chovan. "This is a good way to start the new year. I got three goals, but that is not important. The important thing is that we're playing in the next round, and that was our goal."



Joel Vermin had two goals for Switzerland, while Sven Andrighetto and Tanner Richard added singles.



Juraj Simboch made 24 saves for Slovakia, while Lukas Meili allowed five goals on 28 shots for the Swiss before being replaced by Tim Wolf, who gave up one goal on three shots.

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"We played scared and quit skating," said Swiss coach Manuele Celio. "It was psychological also. We did things we normally do not do. The Slovaks had a lot more energy at the end than we did."



Finland 4 Czech Republic 0



At Edmonton, Sami Aittokallio made 36 saves as Finland moved into the quarter-finals with a victory over the Czech Republic.



Teemu Pulkkinen, Joonas Donskoi, Alexander Ruuttu and Miro Aaltonen scored for the Finns (3-1), who play Slovakia in the quarters.



Goaltender Petr Mrazek stopped 24 shots for the Czechs (2-2), one day after his spectacular 52-save performance in a win over the United States.



The Czechs had already secured a berth in the quarters, and will play either Russia or Sweden on Monday.

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