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Sweden Routs Swiss

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

February 22, 2006

TURIN, Italy (AP) -- Sweden left little doubt why it wanted to play Switzerland.

Mats Sundin scored twice midway through the second period as the Swedes pulled away in a 6-2 victory over the Swiss on Wednesday, advancing to the Olympic men's hockey semifinals.

The Swedes will face the winner of the Slovakia-Czech Republic game on Friday.

Days ago, Sweden coach Bengt-Ake Gustafsson created some intrigue for what turned out to be a lopsided game when he suggested that his team would be better off facing Switzerland rather than Canada or the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals.

The only way to ensure the favorable matchup was a loss in the final preliminary game Tuesday against Slovakia, a game the Swedes ended up losing with what appeared to be a solid effort.

Really, Gustafsson was just being honest - and accurate.

Instead of starting the medal round against traditional powers, Gustafsson was frank about his preference to play a Swiss team with just three NHL players on the roster.

If the Swiss were motivated by Gustaffson's comments, as he predicted they would be, it wasn't apparent.

Sweden displayed its superiority quickly and after the score was tied 1-1 by Switzerland's Mark Streit midway through the first period, the Swedes scored four straight goals.

The Swiss and its goaltender, Martin Gerber, finished their uneven games 2-2-2. They beat Canada, behind Gerber's spectacular shutout, and knocked off the Czechs, but tied lowly Italy and Germany in the previous two games. Gerber, playing ahead of David Aebischer, made 21 saves against Sweden.

Sweden goaltender Henrik Lundqvist stopped 29 shots and had plenty of scoring support with Sundin's goals and one each from Henrik Sedin, Fredrik Modin and Henrik Zetterberg.

In the second period, Swede defenseman Mattias Ohlund collided with the boards and did not return. Ohlund was injured when he was checked by Patric Della Rossa from behind, lost his balance and slid into the corner. A trainer attended to Ohlund as he lay on his side. After he was helped to his skates minutes later, he walked to the dressing room without assistance.

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