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Finland, Norway look to build on positives

by Adam Kimelman


When: Friday, Noon ET (MSNBC, SNET)

Where: Shayba Arena

What's at stake: Both teams will be playing for the second straight day. Finland will try to play like it did in the final two periods of its 8-4 win Thursday against Austria, and hopes to have captain Teemu Selanne in the lineup. Selanne sat out the final two periods Thursday with what coach Erkka Westerlund called a "small upper-body injury." Norway will try to build on the positives from its 3-1 loss to Canada on Thursday.

Norway: For one period the Norwegians played even with Canada during their game Thursday.

The second period, though, was a different story. After being outshot 9-8 in a scoreless first period, Norway couldn't keep up when Canada found a different gear. Norway was outshot 12-2 in the second and outscored 2-0 en route to a 3-1 loss.

"We battled hard and we played for each other, blocking shots and playing the way we're supposed to play," forward Mats Zuccarello told the IIHF website. "I think the second period we got a little too cocky. We have to stay humble and play the same way all the time."

They'll also need another strong outing in net like the one they got Thursday from goalie Lars Haugen, who stopped 35 of 38 shots.

Finland: The slow start against Austria was seen as a positive and a teaching moment for Finland. The Finns gave up a goal on the game's first shift and trailed 2-1 halfway through the first period before cranking things up en route to an 8-4 win.

"We weren't ready," Finland goalie Tuukka Rask said. "They got the goal and even battled back a couple of times there. It's not a good start, but a good thing that we never let our guard down. We just kept going."

Defenseman Kimmo Timonen chalked up the rough start to first-game struggles and said he expects his team to be better going forward.

"I think we have to get back to being tighter defensively," said Timonen, who said the early start (Noon local time) and the larger ice surface contributed to some of his team's sluggishness. "Hopefully we can score three or four goals a game and that should be enough against these good countries. That was [the] first game, probably not the best one Finland played, but we take it and move on."

What's next: The teams finish play in Group B on Sunday. Finland faces Canada with the top spot in the group likely at stake, while Norway faces Austria in a game that will have a big spot in seeding for the quarterfinal round.


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