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Nylander to play for World gold medal in Riga

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
· Nylander, Sweden on historic quest

Rangers center Michael Nylander and prospect Martin Richter competed in the semifinals of the 2006 World Championship tournament in Riga, Latvia on Saturday, and both advanced to Sunday's gold medal game. Here is a look at their performances:

NylanderMichael Nylander
Position: Center
Team: Sweden
Team Standing: Advanced to finals
Nylander's Tournament Scoring to Date: 5 games, 1 goal, 6 assists
May 20 Sweden 5, Canada 4 (at Arena Riga)

Nylander led Sweden with three assists, as the Olympic champions went up 2-0 early in the first and never looked back. He opened his big night with the lone assist on Niklas Kronwall's goal at 1:27 of the first period and added a second assist on Jorgen Jonsson's power-play goal that gave Sweden at 2-0 lead at 4:11. Nylander later had the second assist on former Ranger Mikael Samuelsson's goal at 1:33 of the second period. That gave Sweden a 4-2 lead, which Jonas Nordquist stretched to 5-2 at 2:41 of the period. Canada came back with two more goals but could not catch the Swedes down the stretch. Sweden is looking to become the first country to win the Olympic gold medal and World Championship gold medal in the same year. By ensuring themselves of at least a silver, the Swedes are guaranteed to finish higher in this tournament than any of the past four Olympic champions.

RichterMartin Richter
Position: Defense
Team: Czech Republic
Team Standing: Advanced to finals
Richter's Tournament Scoring to Date: 8 games, 0 goals, 2 assists
May 20: Czech Republic 3, Finland 1 (at Arena Riga)

Richter was held without a point and was called for holding penalties in the first and third periods as the defending champion Czechs knocked off Finland to reach the finals. Finland took a 1-0 lead in the first period before the Czechs scored once in the second to tie it and then got the game-winner from David Vyborny at 16:17 of the third period. Former Rangers goaltender Milan Hnilicka starred for the Czech Republic with 33 saves, including 15 in the second period.
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