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Finland wins pool on goal differential

9/9/2004

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

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 got a goal in
the five-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 will play an improving Czech Republic team 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.

"You always have to try to improve things, but there was plenty
of good things from our unit -- we created four, five great chances
but could not convert them," Koivu said.

Goals by defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom and Modin late in the first
period pulled the Swedes back to 3-3.

Olli Jokinen, who was the Florida Panthers' top goal scorer last
season, gave Finland a 4-3 lead 38 seconds into the second period.