Swedes beat Finland to reach hockey last eight

Swedes beat Finland to reach hockey last eight
Sweden clinched a place in the last eight of the Vancouver Winter Olympic

hockey tournament with a 3-0 win over Finland on Sunday evening.

Louis Eriksson scored two power-play goals for the defending champions Sweden who joined Russia and the United States as group winners and thus will not have to play again until Wednesday with each only three triumphs from a gold medal.

Despite the defeat, Finland also booked a place in the final eight as the top second-place team in round-robin group play, edging the Czech Republic on goal difference.

The outcome set final pairings for the knockout playoff rounds that begin Tuesday, when Canada will face Germany for the right to face fellow pre-tournament favorite Russia in a Wednesday quarter-final between powerhouse lineups.

Also on Tuesday, Slovakia will play Norway for the chance to face Sweden in the quarter-finals, Belarus will meet Switzerland for the right to meet the Americans and the Czechs will play Latvia for a last-eight date with Finland.

Eriksson opened the scoring 6:41 into the game when the Swedes enjoyed a two-man advantage thanks to Finland penalties.

Nicklas Bäckström, a National Hockey League teammate of Russian star Alex Ovechkin on the Washington Capitals, ripped a wrist shot into the top far corner of the goal to boost Sweden’s edge 4:19 into the second period.

Eriksson struck again with 1:52 remaining in the second, skating around sprawled Finnish goaltender Mikka Kiprusoff and sliding the puck into the far corner of the open goal to give the Swedes their final goal.

Finland’s frustration boiled over when Joni Pitkanen received a five-minute penalty and game misconduct for a hit to the head on Sweden’s Patric Hörnqvist, who was taken to the locker room.

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