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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Finland wins European pool in World Cup

Associated Press

HELSINKI, Finland — Finland didn’t get its long-awaited revenge on Sweden, but a 4-4 tie was good enough to win the European Pool at the World Cup of Hockey on Saturday.

The Nordic rivals both finished unbeaten with five points, but the Finns won the pool on goal differential.

Sweden’s Tomas Holmstrom scored a power-play goal with just 11 seconds left in regulation, and neither team could get a goal in the 5-minute overtime period.

“Our start was strong, but Sweden is a world-class team with a truckload of skill, and they started to score on the power-play, so the game was soon a new one,” said Finland captain Saku Koivu, who scored one goal. “But we gritted ourselves to the end.”

Finland now faces Germany, which lost all three round robin games, on Monday. Sweden plays an improving Czech Republic team on Tuesday.

Sweden pulled goalie Mikael Tellqvist 38 seconds into the extra period, but the gamble didn’t pay off.

Finland, which blew a 5-1 lead and lost 6-5 to Sweden in the quarterfinals of the 2003 world championship in the same arena, never trailed in the game.

Tellqvist gave up two goals during the first four minutes before the boisterous flag-waving crowd that also included a few thousand Swedish fans.

Ville Peltonen scored just 1:39 in and Ossi Vaananen added a power play goal at 4:34 to give Finland a 2-0 lead.

Fredrik Modin of the Tampa Bay Lightning scored the first of his two goals on the power play at 12:27 to cut the lead to 2-1.

It was the first goal Finnish goalie Miikka Kiprusoff conceded in more than 132 minutes of tournament play. The Calgary Flames goalie shut out the Czechs (4-0) and the Germans (3-0) in the first two games.

Koivu restored the Finns’ two-goal cushion just 19 seconds after Modin’s goal.