Advertisement
  1. Archive

HOW SWEDE IT IS!

Canada's Paul Kariya shot, Sweden's Tommy Salo saved and the longest _ and one of the most dramatic _ hockey games in Olympic history was over.

The Swedes are champions for the first time. After 74 years of trying, after 70 minutes of team play and 14 shots in a one-on-one shootout Sunday, they finally did it.

"I think I just have seen one of the most exciting ice hockey games ever," Swedish coach Curt Lundmark said after his team's 3-2 victory over Canada.

Peter Forsberg, 20, got the winning goal on his team's seventh shot.

"It's very big for me, the same for Sweden," said Forsberg, who pulled off his helmet and punted it in celebration.

Canada scored two goals within 2:35 midway through the third period to take a 2-1 lead. Sweden tied it on a power play with 1:49 left in regulation.

After a scoreless 10-minute overtime, the game went to the shootout phase.

Each team was allowed five shots. Petr Nedved and Kariya scored for Canada. Magnus Svensson and Forsberg scored for Sweden.

Still no winner.

That led to a second phase _ each team gets one shot. If one makes it, the game is over. If they both make it or miss, they do it again.

Svensson missed his first shot. So did Nedved. The second sudden-death round matched Forsberg (Quebec Nordiques) and Kariya (Anaheim Mighty Ducks).

Forsberg scored even though he nearly skated too far to the left before one-handing a soft shot under Corey Hirsch's left glove.

When Forsberg scored, all the pressure was on Kariya, the fourth pick in the 1993 NHL draft by Anaheim and the college player of the year with NCAA champion Maine last year.

"The first time I picked the top (right) corner. I felt the second time he wouldn't be expecting it," Kariya said. "I had him. I just didn't get it high enough."

Salo bit on the fake, looking for a shot to the left. Kariya aimed right with his forehand. Salo, out of position, flung his left pad up. Somehow, the puck hit it.

"We won on luck today," Sweden's Mats Naslund said. "You need all the luck to win big games and tonight we had that."

The Swedes didn't care. Since playing in the first Winter Games in 1920, Sweden never won a hockey gold medal. When it finally did, the players raced onto the ice and jumped on top of one another, forming a huge pile in the corner, 30 feet from where Salo stopped Kariya.

The Canadians barely moved. A long shot for a medal when the Olympics began, they won a sad silver, the same medal they took in 1992 when Eric Lindros' goal in a sudden-death shootout won a quarterfinal game over Germany. That was the previous longest Olympic game _ Lindros won in the first round of sudden death, after the shootout.

Hirsch, brilliant throughout the first 70 minutes in which Canada was outshot 42-21, wore a stunned look as he lowered his head to receive the second-place prize.

"I felt fine (finishing second) because we've accomplished something that nobody thought would happen," Hirsch said.

But Nedved's emotion bordered on anger. "It's stupid to decide an Olympic final with a penalty shootout," he said. "Sudden death would have been a better way."

Even Salo, who stopped Canada's last five attempts in the shootout, said the system "is stupid."

The Canadians, who beat Sweden 3-2 last week in the qualifying round, were close to tears as they waited for the award ceremony to start. "We gave it everything we had," Nedved said. "We weren't expected to go this far in the tournament, and when we did we thought we would win."

Woe, Canada

It was Corey Hirsch in goal for Canada and Tommy Salo in goal for Sweden for the fourth Olympic shootout since the format was adopted in 1988, the first ever for the championship. Canada won the coin flip and shot first. Each team was allowed five alternating shots:

Petr Nedved, goal

Hakan Loob, miss

Paul Kariya, goal

Magnus Svensson, goal

Dwayne Norris, miss

Mats Naslund, miss

Greg Parks, miss

Peter Forsberg, goal

Greg Johnson, miss

Roger Hansson, miss

Score after first phase: 2-2

Sweden went first in the sudden-death shootout:

Magnus Svensson, miss

Petr Nedved, miss

Peter Forsberg, goal

Paul Kariya, miss

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Advertisement
Advertisement