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Finland 2, Sweden 1

By David Ginsburg
AP Sports Writer
Wednesday, February 18, 1998; 7:24 a.m. EST

NAGANO, Japan (AP) -- Sweden won't get a chance to defend its Olympic hockey title.

In fact, the Swedes won't take a medal home from Nagano.

Teemu Selanne broke a scoreless duel with two goals in the third period and Jarmo Myllys was exceptional in goal today as Finland eliminated Sweden with a 2-1 victory. The Finns will next face Russia, which remained undefeated in the tournament by defeating Belarus 4-1 in the other quarterfinal game at Aqua Wing arena.

Sweden was playing for the first time without standout defenseman Ulf Samuelsson, who participated in three games before being banned from the Olympics for having both U.S. and Swedish passports.

After Samuelsson was ousted, Sweden team captain Calle Johansson said, ``We're dedicating every game, every goal and every point to him.''

But there were no points and just one goal for Sweden, the 1994 Olympic champion at Lillehammer.

Selanne's first goal, with 15:48 remaining, was the product of a Sweden miscue and some deft fakery by the NHL's leading scorer. After Nicklas Lidstrom lost the puck near his own blue line, Teppo Numminen tapped it ahead to Selanne, who skated in from the left side with linemate Saku Koivu moving briskly down the middle.

Selanne looked at Koivu as if to pass, then snapped the puck into the right side of the net past goalie Tommy Salo.

Selanne made it 2-0 with 7:17 left, scoring on a cross-ice pass from Koivu with Finland on the power play.

Peter Forsberg scored for the Swedes with 12 seconds to go.

Sweden survived a four-minute high-sticking call against Michael Nylander at 4:10 of the first period. The Swedes' short-handed situation became more severe when Daniel Alfredsson was called for a crosscheck with 1:51 remaining in Nylander's penalty, but 21 seconds later Koivu was sent to the penalty box for interference.

Each team took six shots in the second period. Myllys kept the game scoreless by blocking a slapshot and then kicking away Nylander's attempt to put in the rebound.

Early in the third period, Salo reached far to his left to snare a rising wrist shot by Juha Ylonen.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

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