Ducks at the World Championships, Day 9.

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.

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.

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