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Finland 8, Kazakhstan 2

By David Ginsburg
AP Sports Writer
Monday, February 16, 1998; 3:15 a.m. EST

NAGANO, Japan (AP) — Finland finally found a hockey team it could beat at the Olympics — woeful Kazakhstan.

Raimo Helminen and Esa Tikkanen scored in a 50-second span of the first period Monday to propel the Finns to a 8-2 victory, their first of the tournament after two straight losses.

Teemu Selanne had a goal and two assists for Finland, which had a 4-1 lead and a 28-4 advantage in shots after two periods against the only remaining team without an NHL player.

The Finns will likely open the single-elimination quarterfinals against Sweden. Kazakhstan, which went 0-3 in the round-robin phase while being outscored 25-6, next plays unbeaten Canada.

Vladimir Antipin gave Kazakhstan a 1-0 lead with 4:25 elapsed, embarrassing Finland goaltender Ari Sulander with a slap shot from five feet beyond the blue line. But that turned out to be the highlight for the former Soviet republic, which couldn't manage a shot on goal in the second period despite having two power plays.

Jyrki Lumme, a defenseman with the Vancouver Canucks, made it 1-1 with a 30-foot slap shot at 12:53 of the first period. Helminen put Finland up for good with a power-play goal at 16:19, and Tikkanen scored from between the circles at 17:09 after taking a centering pass from Selanne, a right wing with Anaheim and the NHL's leading scorer.

Teppo Numminen scored Finland's third power-play goal at 16:26 of the second period, beating goalie Vitaliy Yeremeyev with a slap shot from the top of the left circle.

That was more than enough offense for Finland, which opened the tournament with a 3-0 loss to the Czech Republic before dropping a 4-3 decision to Russia.

Shortly after Kazakhstan failed convert a four-minute power play, Jere Lehtinen converted a pass from Selanne to make it 5-1 midway through the third period. Ville Peltonen turned a Kazakhstan mistake into a breakaway goal with 7:32 left, and minutes later Selanne scored to give Finland a six-goal cushion.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

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