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Canada 3, Sweden 2

By Mike Nadel
AP Sports Writer
Saturday, February 14, 1998; 7:21 a.m. EST

NAGANO, Japan (AP) -- Canada used patience, persistence and three perfect plays by Joe Nieuwendyk to show Sweden that at least one North American team can be an Olympic hockey force.

Nieuwendyk scored and assisted on goals by Al MacInnis and Rob Blake, all in the last 8:04 of the second period, leading Canada to a 3-2 victory today.

Canada did what the United States couldn't -- beat the defending Olympic champions. The Canadians will finish the round-robin phase of the tournament by playing the United States on Monday; a win or tie would give them the top seed in their four-team group going into the single-elimination quarterfinals.

Sweden, which defeated the U.S. team 4-2 Friday, plays Belarus on Monday.

Nicklas Lidstrom's power-play goal gave Sweden a 1-0 lead after one period. Rather than panic, the Canadians applied steady pressure and outshot Sweden 18-6 in the second.

Nieuwendyk redirected Blake's slap shot past Tommy Salo at 11:56 of the second period to tie it. At 17:02, Nieuwendyk drew a faceoff back to Al MacInnis, who faked two shots before beating Salo with a slapper from the right circle for a power-play goal.

Blake capped the surge with only 7 seconds left in the period, taking a pass from Nieuwendyk and wristing a shot between Salo's pads for a 3-1 lead.

Mats Sundin scored the only goal of the third period and Patrick Roy made several fine saves to keep Canada ahead.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

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