Sweden 7, Poland 2
MERIBEL, France (AP) _ Sweden, the defending world champion but never an Olympic champion, got two goals from an NHL veteran and a quick start Sunday toward that missing gold medal.
Hakan Loob, a star on the 1989 Stanley Cup champion Calgary Flames, scored twice in the second period as top-seeded Sweden beat 12th-seeded Poland, 7-2, in the opener for both. Lars Edstrom also scored twice.
Sweden won the world championship last spring. It finished third in the last three Olympics and went medal-less in five of the six Olympics before that. It lost its last Olympic tuneup, 3-2, to the United States last Wednesday.
But on Sunday Sweden dominated, outshooting Poland 42-9.
Edstrom and Patrik Erickson scored before Poland’s Janusz Hajnos cut the lead to 2-1 with 48 seconds left in the first period.
But Loob, who had 50 goals for Calgary in 1987-88, grabbed the momentum back 18 seconds into the second period when he pulled goalie Gabriel Samolej out of the net and scored into the open right side.
Borje Salming, one of six former NHLers on the Swedish team, set up the next goal with a slap shot from the point. Samolej blocked the puck with his chest, but it dropped to his feet. Charles Berglund knocked in the rebound at 18:06.
At 19:09, Loob gave Sweden a 5-1 lead with a quick wrist shot from the left faceoff dot.
Poland’s Waldemar Klisiak made it 5-2 at 4:42 of the third period, before Tommy Sjodin and Edstrom connected.
In the 1988 Winter Games, Sweden and Poland tied 1-1.