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Sweden stays unbeaten in Olympic hockey

Feb. 18, 2002 at 12:23 AM   |   Comments

SALT LAKE CITY, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Mats Sundin and Kim Johnsson scored Sunday night to keep Sweden unbeaten in the Olympic hockey tournament with a 2-1 victory over defending champion Czech Republic.

Anada, meanwhile, again failed to impress as it had to hold off a German comeback to escape with a 3-2 win.

Sweden virtually wrapped up first place in its group. After mauling Canada in its first contents and then disposing of the Czechs, Sweden now has only to beat Germany to set up a likely quarterfinal matchup against Belarus.

The Czech goal came from Jiri Dopita, who scored unassisted on his own rebound midway though the second period.

"We are off to a great start beating favored opponents in Canada and the Czechs," Sundin said. "But it won't mean anything if we lose in the single elimination medal round. (Goaltender) Tommy Salo was the difference holding them off when they took control in the second half of the game."

"No matter how good you play, you have to win, that is the bottom line," said Czech captain Jaromir Jagr. "If you lose and go home in the medal round, no one remembers how you played. Tonight we didn't play that well. This may be my last chance to represent my country and I'm giving my all."

Canada was held without a goal until midway through the second period and then took a 3-0 lead against lightly regarded Germany. But the Germans rallied to get within one on a power-play goal by Jochen Hecht with six minutes remaining.

Win or lose against the Czech Republic on Monday, Canada faces a quarterfinal game against either the United states, Finland or Russia. Unless the Canadians step up their play, they could face a quick exit in the knockout round and go home without a medal.

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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