Sweden beats Finland 3-1 to win Olympic Group C
GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — Sweden beat Finland 3-1 in the Olympic hockey tournament Sunday night to win Group C in the preliminary round and advance directly into the quarterfinals.
The Swedes will now play either Switzerland or Germany in Wednesday’s quarterfinals and could meet either Canada or Finland in the semifinals. The Finns were forced into a qualification game Tuesday against South Korea, which lost 4-0 to Canada.
“It was a tight game, not many chances for either team,” Sweden captain Joel Lundqvist said. “A very important game coming up for sure. We’re happy so far but if we lose the quarterfinal it will be very disappointing.”
Patrik Zackrisson scored the winning goal, knocking in a rebound of Johan Fransson’s slap shot at 8:53 of the third period with a lunging shot.
“I tried to jump at it, tried to reach it, and I got my stick on it so it felt good,” Zackrisson said. “Now the fun game starts. Now the important games start. It’s win or lose.”
Anton Lander gave Sweden the lead at 14:53 of the first period on a breakaway off a pass from Linus Omark, the former Edmonton Oilers wing’s fourth assist of the tournament. That came shortly after a Swedish goal was overturned on video review for high sticking by Par Lindholm as he deflected the puck in midair.
Finland made it 1-1 in the second when Joonas Kemppainen scored on a rebound, but then came Zackrisson’s goal and an empty-net goal from Oscar Moller.
Finland defenseman Sami Lepisto rued his team’s failure to score on 7 minutes of power-play time.
“It was a tough game, a good battle,” said Lepisto, formerly of the Chicago Blackhawks. “We just couldn’t capitalize today on our power play. We had a lot of chances, just sometimes it just doesn’t go in. With the big games coming now, you’ve got to be able to score those goals.”
Swedish goaltender Viktor Fasth stopped 18 shots, while Finland’s Mikko Koskinen had 20 saves.
Sweden qualifies with three wins after earlier beating Norway 4-0 and Germany 1-0. Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, widely predicted to the No. 1 NHL draft pick, was a healthy scratch for the second time in the preliminary round after also sitting out the opening win over Norway.
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