Helsinki, Finland – Slovakia needed a win Tuesday in its round-robin finale to reach the quarterfinals of the 2013 World Hockey Championship and did just that with a convincing 4-1 victory over the United States.
The Americans would have claimed first place in Group H with a win, but fell behind 3-0 and never recovered. The U.S. and Russia are tied for first, but Finland can claim the top spot in the group with a win against Latvia later Tuesday.
Branko Radivojevic scored just 15 seconds into the game after a misplay by American goaltender Ben Bishop and Martin Bartek made it 2-0 at the 3:44 mark. A Craig Smith penalty midway through the second led to a power-play goal from Rene Vydareny for a 3-0 Slovakia cushion.
Danny Kristo scored in the final minute of the second period for the U.S., but Rastislav Stana turned aside all seven American shots he faced in the third and Marko Dano found the empty net to seal it for Slovakia.
Stana finished with 20 saves for Slovakia, which will finish fourth in the group and will face the group winner in Thursday's quarterfinals.
Bishop stopped 22 shots for the Americans, whose quarterfinal opponent will be determined after the Finland-Latvia game.
Switzerland, meanwhile, completed an undefeated round-robin slate with a 4-1 win over Belarus and wrapped up the top spot in Group S, two points ahead of Canada.