- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 19, 2002

From combined dispatches
Finland 3, Russia 1
PROVO, Utah Russia became the latest hockey superpower to learn a lesson of international play that's been taught repeatedly in recent years.
Never forget about Finland.
Captain Teemu Selanne scored the first of three straight goals as Finland surprised Russia 3-1 yesterday to clinch second place in its Olympic hockey group.
Mikko Eloranta and Jere Lehtinen also scored for the Finns, who continued their long tradition of countering their talent disadvantages with workmanlike play, conservative defense and flashes of offensive brilliance, mostly from Selanne.
After being dominated in the final two periods, the mighty Russians were knocked to third place in the group. Once again, Finland has become a surprise medal contender.
"We let other teams do the commentating and the handicapping and the head games," defenseman Teppo Numminen said. "We don't do that. We just play, and not worry about what happens next. We know we've got nothing to lose."
Finland, the only nation to win a medal in each of the past two Olympics and four World Championships, rebounded from a 6-0 loss to the United States in its opener to win two straight.
Finland's bronze performance in Nagano was overshadowed by the Czech Republic's heroics and disappointing outings by the United States and Canada. Given the absence of star Saku Koivu, who's battling cancer, not much was expected of the current team particularly after the blowout loss Friday.
But Finland's patient, defense-oriented style produced strong games against Belarus and Russia. Finland also got strong goaltending from Jani Hurme, who stopped 25 shots and held on against a Russian rally in the final minutes.
"I think we wanted to win this more than those guys," Selanne said. "They're pretty scary with that lineup, so it was good they didn't show up tonight."
Pavel Bure scored for the Russians (1-1-1), who have scored just three goals in their last six periods despite a high-powered roster including seven players who have scored at least 29 goals in an NHL season. In addition, superstar goalie Nikolai Khabibulin has been rather ordinary.
"We've played three games here, and only in one of them have we played at the level we should be playing at all the time," said Russian coach Slava Fetisov, who held a team meeting immediately after the game. "For some reason [in the second period], we just stopped skating, and Finland felt it right away. I don't know why it happened."
Finland's victory unexpectedly shuffled the quarterfinal matchups for Wednesday. Finland now will face Canada, with the Czech Republic getting the unenviable task of meeting a powerful Russian team stinging from an upset loss.

Canada 3, Czech Republic 3
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah Rarely has a tie felt more like a victory for Canada.
Joe Nieuwendyk scored with 3 minutes left after Mario Lemieux scored twice as Canada rallied for a much-needed 3-3 tie with the Czech Republic in the Olympic tournament.
Not only did the much-hyped but previously disappointing Canadians gain some momentum by tying the defending gold medalists, they gained what seems a much more favorable quarterfinal matchup on Wednesday.
Rather than playing Russia, which was upset 3-1 by Finland earlier yesterday, Canada now plays Finland while the Czechs only 1-1-1 so far go against the Russians. The other quarterfinals send the unbeaten United States against Germany and Sweden against Belarus.
Canada seemed headed for a third consecutive poor game in its national sport when Jiri Dopita scored with 6:43 remaining to give the Czechs, playing their second tough game in less than 24 hours, a 3-2 lead. The Czechs lost 2-1 Sunday to unbeaten Sweden.

Sweden 7, Germany 1
PROVO, Utah Markus Naslund scored two goals, and captain Mats Sundin had a goal and two assists as Sweden rolled to its third straight victory with a win over Germany.
Backup goalie Johan Hedberg stopped 19 shots, losing his shutout bid during a power play with 1:59 left, as Sweden prepared for its quarterfinal match against Belarus with a performance that often resembled a scrimmage for the smooth Swedes.
Mikael Renberg, Daniel Alfredsson, Mathias Johansson and Tomas Holmstrom also scored for Sweden, which had already clinched the top quarterfinal seed in its round-robin group with victories over Canada and the Czech Republic in its first two games.


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