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Ice hockey: Finland beat Slovakia to reach gold medal final

BEIJING: Finland claimed a 2-0 win over Slovakia to reach the men's ice hockey final at the Beijing Games on Friday (Feb 18) helped by Sakari Manninen's first period goal and Harri Sateri's shutout netminding.

With Slovakia pulling their netminder for an extra-attacker late on in a bid to draw level, Harri Pesonen scored into an empty net with 39 seconds left to wrap up the victory.

Finland now await the winners of the second semi-final later on Friday between defending gold medallists the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and Sweden.

The Finns had easily handled Slovakia in their tournament opener, easing to a 6-2 win, but this time faced much more determined opponents battling for a place in Sunday's gold medal game.

Finland scored the only goal of an opening period that produced few scoring chances.

But Manninen made one of Finland's seven shots count by pouncing on a rebound and lifting it over sprawling netminder Patrik Rybar for a 1-0 lead.

The rest of the game featured a goaltending duel between Rybar and Sateri, who made 28 saves to earn the shutout, with Pesonen finding the net to round off the win for Finland.

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Source: Reuters/fh


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