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Finland Beats Sweden to Win Sweden Games Tournament Canada Finishes Fourth; Verner Named Best Goalie
NR.020.97
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February 9, 1997
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STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Team Finland defeated the host team 4-2 on Sunday for its fourth straight round-robin victory to finish the Sweden Games international hockey tournament with a 4-0 won-lost record and the gold medal.

Marko Jantunen scored twice for Finland, who got single goals from Juha Lind and Antti Aalto. Per Eklund and Kim Johnsson scored for Sweden in the game, which was played before a crowd of 13,850 fans at the Globe Arena. The tournament is an important tune-up for the World Hockey Championship, particularly for the European teams.

In the only other game in the five-team round-robin tournament on Sunday, Russia beat the Czech Republic 5-1, giving the Russians third place in the tournament. Russia finished with a 1-2-1 won-lost-tied record, the same as Canada, but was awarded third place because they had scored more goals.

Canada opened the tournament with a 2-1 victory over Sweden, then tied the Russians 1-1 before losing 4-2 to the Finns, by far the class of the five-team field. Canada missed a chance to claim sole possession of third place by losing 2-1 to the Czech Republic on Saturday. Former Edmonton Oiler forward Vladimir Vujtek set up one goal and scored the gamewinner in that match. Pavel Patera scored the other goal for the Czechs, while Dean Evason scored the lone goal for Canada.

Former National Team member Andrew Verner, of Weston, Ont., who now tends goal for Hameenlina in the Finnish Elite League, joined the National Team for the tournament, along with other European-based players, such as Sylvain Turgeon, Derek Mayer, Stephan Richer, Marc Fortier, Dave Tomlinson, Chris Lindberg and Derek Cormier.

Verner was named the best goalkeeper in the tournament, while Hannu Virta of Finland was honored as best defenceman and Sweden's Michael Nylander was named best forward. The tournament all-star team included Verner, Virta and Sweden's Roger Johansson on defence and forwards Eklund, Nylander and Sami Mettovaara of Finland.

On Monday, Canada returns home to Calgary, where the team will train for a week before departing for a six-game tour of Japan against the Japanese National Team.


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