Finland clinches home ice in quarters
COLOGNE, Germany -- Miikka Kiprusoff earned his second straight shutout as Finland blanked Germany 3-0 Thursday night in the World Cup of Hockey, clinching home-ice advantage in the quarterfinals next week.
Kimmo Timonen of the Nashville Predators, Teemu Selanne of the Colorado Avalanche and Jere Lehtinen of the Dallas Stars scored for Finland, which shut out the Czech Republic 4-0 Monday night in Helsinki.
The Finns now return to their capital to meet archrival Sweden on Saturday. Sweden also is 2-0 in the European pool and gained home-ice advantage in the quarters after back-to-back wins over Germany (5-2) and the Czechs (4-3) in Stockholm.
Germany travels to Prague to meet the Czechs on Friday in a game between two winless teams. In the quarterfinals, the group winner meets the No. 4 team, and the runner-up plays the No. 3 team.
Timonen scored the opening goal midway in the first period with Finland on the power play before a crowd of 12,975. Selanne, who got an assist on the goal, put in his first midway in the second period when the Finns had a two-man advantage for 28 seconds. Selanne one-timed a slap shot from the left circle.
The Germans, who played much better in the second period, had an excellent chance to get back into the game with a two-man advantage for two minutes later in the period. But Kiprusoff, who backstopped Calgary to the Stanley Cup finals last season, was never seriously challenged.
Instead, Mikko Eloranta -- one of only two players from the Finnish League -- wasted a golden chance to make it 3-0 after the Finns killed the penalties. Leaving the penalty box, he took a mid-ice pass and skated in on a breakaway. But Kolzig made a brilliant pad save.
Lehtinen made it 3-0 with 4:22 remaining, roofing a backhander from the slot past a screened Kolzig.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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