Sweden survives a scare in 4-2 Winter Olympic victory over Belarus
VANCOUVER (CP) — Vancouver Canucks star Daniel Sedin scored his first goal of the 2010 Olympics in his home rink, but his Swedish team got a scare in a 4-2 victory over Belarus on Friday.
After Sweden took a 3-0 lead, Dmitri Meleskov scored a pair of goals for Belarus, the second at 11:33 of the third frame, to set up a nervy ending to a game the Swedes otherwise dominated.
Daniel Alfredsson, with two, and Johan Franzen also scored for the Swedes, who started the Monster, Jonas Gustavsson, in goal after Henrik Lundqvist shut out Germany 2-0 in their opening game on Wednesday.
The sight of the red and green Belarus jersey makes Swedish fans cringe at the memory of the 2002 Salt Lake Games when, tied 3-3 late in a quarter-final game, Vladimir Kopat beat Tommy Salo with a shot from near the red line to produce one of the biggest upsets in Olympic hockey history.
This time, Meleshko’s second goal sparked chants of “Bel-a-rus!” from the non-Swedes in the Canada Hockey Place crowd and, only 25 seconds later, Konstantin Zakharov nearly tied with a shot that rang off the crossbar.
Alfredsson scored on a feed from Henrik Sedin with 11 seconds to play.
Sweden jumped out to 2-0 lead, outshooting Belarus 17-6 in the first period.
After a long stretch of pressure in the Belarus zone, Daniel Sedin was left alone in front to shoot and bang in his own rebound at 6:40. Henrik got an assist for the twins’ first points of the tournament.
On a power play at 9:04, Alfredsson dished off the puck and went to the net to bang in a pass from Nicklas Backstrom.
Franzen made it 3-0 midway through the second frame when his shot from close range dribbled between Andrei Mezin’s pads.
Belarus finally got one from Meleshko thanks to some weak penalty killing by Sweden, who left the point men all the time they needed to tee up shots. One pro- duced a scramble in the crease, as the puck was kicked away by Gustafsson, went off Mathias Ohlund’s skate and went in off the post at 14:40.
Then a battle was won at the Swedish blue-line, allowing Aleksandr Kulakov to break in for a shot and Meleshko to score on the rebound.
Czech Republic 5, Latvia 2
VANCOUVER (CP) - Three assists from Marek Zidlicky and three early goals helped the Czech Republic dump Latvia 5-2 in Olympic men’s hockey action tonight.
Zidlicky helped set up one even strength and two power play goals, including the insurance marker scored 6:33 into the second period by Tomas Kaberle, who also had an assist.
David Krejci, Tomas Plekanec, Patrick Elias and Jaromir Jagr scored the other goals for the Czech Republic.
Krejci, Plekanec and Jagr all found the back of the net in the first 5:07 of the first period to help the Czech team jump out to a 3-0 lead.
Kristaps Sotnieks and Girts Ankipans replied with second period goals 2:58 apart for the Latvians to make things interesting.
However, the Czechs put a solid third period together to seal the victory.