February 21, 2006
TORINO, Italy (AP) -- Finland got through its final preliminary game without an injury, avoiding the only thing that could've made their Olympic match against Germany matter.
Dallas Star Niko Kapanen and Montreal Canadien Saku Koivu scored for the Finns, leading them to a 2-0 victory Tuesday in men's hockey.
Regardless of the outcome, Finland (5-0) was headed into the single-elimination quarter-finals as the top team in Group A. They are to play the United States, the fourth-place team from Group B, on Wednesday.
"You can't think about injuries in a situation like this," Teemu Selanne of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks said. "You have to keep working at it because even if you know who you're going to play in the quarter-finals, this is practice."
The Finns beat Canada, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Italy and the Germans by a combined score of 19-2. Every win was by at least two goals.
"I still think we can play better and make better decisions," Selanne said. "We know we're going to have a chance to win if we play well, but if we play well and lose, that's no shame."
Germany (0-3-2) ended the games tied with Italy for last place in Group A.
"Hopefully we learned a lot about how to play as a team so we don't make the same mistakes the next time we play together," San Jose Sharks defenceman Christian Ehrhoff said.
The Finns jumped ahead early in the first period on Kapanen's one-timer on a power play. Koivu whacked a bouncing puck into the net in the second period with an extra attacker.
Finland played its standout skaters, but rested first-string goaltender Antero Niittymaki of the Philadelphia Flyers. Fredrik Norrena made 18 saves for the shutout.
German goalie Robert Muller, filling in for Washington Capital Olaf Kolzig, kept the game relatively close by turning away 23 shots.