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    Slovakia beats Russia in Olympic hockey opener

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    TURIN, February 16 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's hockey team got off to a poor start at the Olympic Games in Turin with a bitter defeat at the hands of Slovakia.

    The Slovaks broke the match open at the start of the game, when forward Pavol Demitra fired a wrist shot below the crossbar. The Russian team soon drew level and then went ahead with two successful attacks from Pavel Datsyuk and Alexei Kovalev respectively.

    Slovakia responded with a neat shot by defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky, before Alexander Ovechkin helped Sergei Gonchar's shot into the net for Russia. That was cancelled out, though, when Miroslav Satan scored to make it 3:3 at the end of the second period.

    Two attacks from Marian Gaborik in the third period secured Slovakia's victory 5:3.

    On Thursday, the Russian team, which is managed by hockey legend Pavel Bure, will meet the Swiss, who beat Kazakhstan 7:2 in their opening encounter.

    Commenting on the match, Russian forward and NHL player Ovechkin criticized the referee. "They did more trips...but he didn't seem to see it," the 20-year-old said. "But he whistled for anything we did and we got two minutes."

    However, Ovechkin said it had been a good match and his team carried out a number of interesting attacks, even though they failed to come off. "We did not manage to use some opportunities, but it was the first game and we have some time to make conclusions not to repeat the mistakes," he said.

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