February 21, 2014

Sweden Advances To Gold Medal Game

Sweden advanced to the 2014 Sochi Olympics gold medal game on Sunday by defeating Finland 2-1.

The 2006 gold medallists now await the winner of the Canada-USA semifinal played later today.

Loui Eriksson and Erik Karlsson scored for Sweden. Olli Jokinen scored for Finland.

The game got off to a surprise start with Finland's top goalie, Tuukka Rask, unable to play due to the flu. Kari Lehtonen played admirably in tough circumstances. Finland had already lost centers Mikko Koivu, Aleksandr Barkov and Valterri Filppula in the tournament.

The game was not exactly another classic in this heated Scandinavian rivalry. The game was slow and tactical. Daniel Alfredsson termed it "a chess match."

If that was the case then Swedish goalie Henrik Lundqvist is the chessmaster. With the win Lundqvist becomes the 2nd winningest goaltender in Olympic history, trailing only the legendary Vladislav Tretiak.

Sweden’s bid for its first gold medal since 2006 continues. The only other Swedish Olympic gold came in Lillehammer in 1994, where Peter Forsberg scored his iconic one-handed goal in the final shootout to defeat Canada.

The loss seemed hardest on Teemu Selanne, the 43 year old all-time leading scorer in the modern era of the Olympic Games with 41 points. He played as if he was years younger, always wanting the puck on his stick in an attempt to tie the score.

Selanne will have a chance to end his glorious international hockey career with a medal here in Sochi. Finland will play on Saturday in the bronze medal game vs. the loser of the Canada-USA semifinal.

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