Swiss stun Swedes as hockey prelims end in drama

Thu May 8, 2008 1:07am EDT
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By Steve Keating

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (Reuters) - Switzerland held on to shock Olympic champions Sweden 4-2 on Wednesday as the preliminary round of the ice hockey world championships ended with drama on and off the ice.

The win moved the Swiss to the top of Group A with an unblemished record of 3-0. Winless France dropped to the bottom of the standings and into the relegation battle after their 3-1 loss to Belarus.

In Group C, Finland went top of the standings, edging Slovakia 3-2 while Germany capped off a day of turmoil with a stunning 3-2 defeat by Norway.

The Norwegian victory was bad news for Slovakia -- the 2002 world champions -- who finished preliminary round play without a victory. They are rooted to the bottom of the group and join France in the relegation round.

Day Five of the championship was one Germany were glad to see end after dealing with a doping controversy and having a player sent home for being declared ineligible.

Florian Busch escaped punishment when the International Ice Hockey Federation rejected a request by World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) to suspend the forward because of an ongoing doping investigation.

Team mate Jason Holland, however, was not as fortunate.

Canadian-born Holland, who played for Canada at the 1996 junior world championships, was ruled ineligible for the championships having played only three years in his adopted country.   Continued...

<p>Switzerland's goalie Jonas Hiller (R) hits Sweden's Tony Martensson (bottom) during the third period of action at the 2008 IIHF World Hockey Championships in Quebec City May 7, 2008. REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger</p>