Finland wins pool on goal differential
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.
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.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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