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Berg, Fins Hammer Italy

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

February 16, 2006

TURIN, Italy (AP) -- Teemu Selanne scored twice and Finland turned loose its stable of front-line NHL scorers on Italy, winning 6-0 behind five power play goals Thursday for its second easy victory in the Olympic hockey tournament.

Saku Koivu, Jere Lehtinen, Jussi Jokinen and non-NHL player Ville Peltonen also scored for Finland, which has outscored Switzerland and Italy by a combined 11-0. Finland gets a much bigger challenge in its next game Saturday against the Czech Republic.

Italy, playing in the tournament only because it is the host team, stayed in the game for more than a period, much as it did in a 7-2 loss Wednesday to defending gold medallist Canada. A near-capacity crowd of 7,776 cheered anything approaching an Italian scoring chance and booed and whistled loudly whenever a Finn player delivered a hard check.

But Italy could play on aggressiveness and emotion only so long as goalie Gunther Hell was forced to make 23 saves in the first period. Lehtinen and Koivu scored off assists by Teppo Numminen in the opening four minutes of a four-goal second period, and Selanne got his two goals in the third period, including Finland's only even-strength goal.

Finland went 5-of-7 on the power play, giving backup goalie Fredrik Norrena all the support he needed while making 16 saves. Sami Salo assisted on three Finland goals.

Italian goalies Hell and Jason Muzzatti have faced a combined 101 shots in two days, split almost evenly.

Finland advanced to the quarter-finals in the 2002 Olympics before losing to Canada 2-1.


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