Cam Fowler and Team USA breathed more life into their quarterfinal aspirations Saturday in Slovakia, while Lubomir Visnovsky and the tournament hosts met a disappointing fate.
Fowler finished plus-1 in 18:03 in a 3-2 win for the U.S. against France. Cristobal Huet (35 saves) made things tough, but the U.S. climbed out of an early 1-0 deficit on unanswered goals by Derek Stepan, Mark Stuart and Chris Kreider. The U.S. can clinch its first quarterfinal-round berth for the first time since 2009 on Monday if it beats Switzerland or loses in overtime or a shootout, or if the Swiss lose to the Swedes on Sunday.
There will be no quarterfinal round for Slovakia.
Tuomo Ruutu scored twice in the third period to lift Finland to a 2-1 win over the hosts. Visnovsky played a team-high 23:55 — a good sign considering the shoulder injuries he dealt with late in the NHL season — but was held scoreless. Slovakia concludes tournament play Monday against Denmark.
According to <a href=”IIHF.comhttp://www.iihf.com/channels-11/iihf-world-championship-wc11/news/news-singleview-2011/article/ruutu-ends-slovakias-dream.html?tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=4926&cHash=eb98f528ce”>IIHF.com</a>, no host country has won the gold medal at the IIHF World Championship since the Soviet Union in 1986.