RALEIGH, NC (May 3, 2001) – Sami Kapanan and David Tanabe of the Carolina Hurricanes each played key roles in helping their respective national teams advance to the qualification round of the 2001 World Hockey Championships in Germany.
Kapanen led Finland to a 3-0 record in the tournament’s opening round, and Tanabe helped the United States earn a 2-2 tie on Wednesday against Sweden to clinch a spot in the qualifying round. The Latvian team, which included Hurricanes goaltender Arturs Irbe and defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh, failed to advance and will compete in the relegation round.
Kapanen, 27, is currently tied for sixth in the tournament in scoring, despite missing one of Finland’s three games in the opening round. The Hurricanes leading scorer during the playoffs with seven points, Kapanen has four points (2g, 2a) in two games for unbeaten Finland. Finland will take on the United States in Cologne on Saturday at 10 a.m. EST in its opening game of the qualification round. The top four teams from each of the two qualification round groups will advance to the final round, which begins May 10. Kapanen, who will compete for Finland in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, has already earned a pair of Olympic bronze medals with his home country.
Tanabe, 20, is tied for second among all defensemen in the tournament with two points (0g, 2a) in three games for the United States. A native of White Bear Lake, Minn., Tanabe was named the MVP for the USA in the team’s 2-0 loss to Latvia during the opening round. He is (+3) for the tournament. Following Saturday’s game against Finland, the United States will take on Austria on Sunday and Slovakia on Tuesday.
Latvia was eliminated from medal competition on Wednesday with its 4-2 loss to Ukraine, completing the first round with a record of 1-2. Irbe was in net for all three games for Latvia, stopping 42 shots in a 2-0 upset victory against the United States on April 30. Irbe is ranked eighth in the tournament in save percentage at .915. Ozolinsh did not record a point and was (even) in the three opening-round games. Latvia begins relegation round play on Friday.
Hurricanes television play-by-play announcer John Forslund did not contribute to this story