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Ex-Kings winger sends Finland to semifinals

9/6/2004 - Mikko Eloranta

HELSINKI, Finland -- Mikko Eloranta tipped a shot past Olaf Kolzig with 3:22 left, lifting Finland to a 2-1 win over Germany on
Monday and into semifinals of the World Cup of Hockey.

"It was the biggest goal in my career, but hopefully there will be another even bigger goal," said Eloranta, one of only two players from the Finnish League on Finland's roster.

Defenseman Kimmo Timonen took a pass from Olli Jokinen and fired
the shot from the point that Eloranta deflected just in front of
the goal.

"I saw the puck coming all the way and deflected it. I had no
idea where it went because I had my back to the goal," Eloranta
said. ``But of course I knew where the cage was."

Finland, which finished atop the European pool after tying
Sweden 4-4 in their round-robin finale, will play the winner of the
game between the defending champion United States and Russia when
the tournament moves to North America for the semifinals.

Sweden, which had as many points (five) as Finland but a lower
goal difference in round-robin play, takes on the Czech Republic in
Stockholm on Tuesday in the other European pool quarterfinal.

Finland dominated play in the first period, outshooting the
winless Germans 10-3, but didn't take the lead until midway through
the game.

With defenseman Andreas Renz off for a holding penalty, Niklas
Hagman scored into an open net when Kolzig got caught out of
position and ended up sprawling on the ice.

Marco Sturm tied the game 14 minutes into the third period when
he got a wrist shot past Miikka Kiprusoff.

Janne Niinimaa, a defenseman for the New York Islanders, left
the Finnish squad late Sunday after a dispute with head coach Raimo
Summanen.