Sweden Down Finland To Reach Final

   on February 21 2014 11:09 AM
swedes
A second-period goal lifted Sweden over Finland in the semifinals. Reuters

Erik Karlsson's second-period goal lifted Sweden to a 2-1 win over Finland on Friday and a place in the Olympic men's ice hockey final.

The game, a repeat of the 2006 Olympic final, got off to a sluggish start as both sides seemed wary of committing the first mistake and falling behind in what was expected to be a tight affair.

Finland had several chances to open the scoring during a two-man advantage that lasted 95 seconds of the first period but could not beat standout Swedish goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

Their best chance on the powerplay came when Teemu Selanne fired a cross-ice pass to the Swedish net that was stopped by Lundqvist, who slid across the crease just in time to get a pad in front of the puck before it crossed the goal line.

The game picked up in the second period and Finland opened the scoring seven minutes in when Olli Jokinen beat Swede Jimmie Ericsson to a loose puck before firing a shot that squeezed through Lundqvist's legs and trickled over the goal line.

Sweden struck back five minutes later when Loui Eriksson followed up a fine pass from Jonathan Ericsson with a low shot that beat a sprawling Kari Lehtonen, who was starting in place of the flu-ridden Tuukka Rask.

Karlsson scored what proved to be the game-winning goal when he blasted a shot from the point that hit Lehtonen before finding its way into the net with less than four minutes to play in the second period.

From there, Lundqvist denied the Finns as he finished with 25 saves.

Top-seeded Sweden advance to Sunday's gold medal game against the winners of Friday's second semi-final between the United States and Canada.

(By Frank Pingue)

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