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Swedes down injury-hit Finland to reach hockey final

AFP

The referee intervenes between Sweden's Erik Karlsson (L) and Finland's Tuomo Ruutu during the Men's Ice Hockey semifinal between Sweden and Finland at the Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 21, 2014The referee intervenes between Sweden's Erik Karlsson (L) and Finland's Tuomo Ruutu during the Men's Ice Hockey semifinal between Sweden and Finland at the Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 21, 2014

The referee intervenes between Sweden's Erik Karlsson (L) and Finland's Tuomo Ruutu during the Men's Ice Hockey semifinal between Sweden and Finland at the Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 21, 2014The referee intervenes between Sweden's Erik Karlsson (L) and Finland's Tuomo Ruutu during the Men's Ice Hockey semifinal between Sweden and Finland at the Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 21, 2014

Undefeated Sweden advanced to the Olympic Games men's hockey gold medal match by defeating a shorthanded Finnish team 2-1 on Friday.

Erik Karlsson scored the eventual game winner on the powerplay late in the second period as Sweden rallied from a 1-0 deficit at the Bolshoi Ice Dome arena to reach their first final since they won gold at Turin in 2006.

They will meet either defending champions Canada or 2010 runners-up United States in Sunday's final.

Sweden, who have won all five of their games in Sochi, have finished fifth or won the gold medal in their last half dozen Winter Olympics.

Karlsson, with his tournament-leading eighth point, scored with 3:34 left in the second on a shot from the point. Finnish goaltender Kari Lehtonen got a piece of Karlsson's shot but not enough.

Finland has been beset by injuries and the news got worse prior to the game against Sweden when their top goaltender Tuukka Rask was taken off the roster for Friday's game.

Rask was replaced by Lehtonen, who finished with 23 saves. Finland was already missing their four top centres, including Saku Koivu and Aleksander Barkov.

Olli Jokinen opened the scoring for Finland 6:17 into the second period on a sharp angle shot that somehow squeezed through goalie Henrik Lundqvist's leg pads and trickled over the goal line.

Defenceman Sami Vatanen, who played a strong game for Finland, started the play by shooting the puck into the corner where Jokinen picked it up.

Loui Eriksson tied it up for Sweden, 1-1, five minutes later after being left alone at the side of the net.

Finnish defenceman Olli Maatta turned the puck over behind the net and Nicklas Backstrom got it out front to Jonathan Eriksson who quickly moved it to Eriksson who had an open net to shoot at.

Sweden finished the round robin with the best record and won its first four matches in this tournament: 4-2 against Czech Republic, 1-0 against Switzerland, 5-3 against Latvia and 5-0 against Slovenia.

Friday's semi-final marked the final Winter Games contest for all-time Olympic scoring leader Teemu Selanne, of Finland, who finished with 41 career points after adding four more from the Sochi Games.

Date created : 2014-02-21