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Alfredsson, Swedes avoid upset

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson rescued Sweden from a potential upset with a pair of goals, including the clincher, in a 4-2 victory over Belarus (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images).

Officially, he's not the leader of the team wearing the Tre Kronor.

But with Sweden on its heels and facing the prospect of another stunning upset at the hands of Belarus, it was Daniel Alfredsson to the rescue in very captain-like fashion.

The Ottawa Senators captain's second goal of the game with 11 seconds remaining allowed the Swedes to hold off Belarus 4-2 for their second victory in as many starts at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics men's hockey tournament.

For the longest time, this one seemed like another rather routine victory for Sweden, which built a 3-0 lead by the midpoint of the second period on goals by Henrik Sedin, Alfredsson on the power play and Johan Franzen.

But Dmitri Meleshko got Belarus on the board late in the middle period, then added a second goal on the power play at the 11:33 mark of the third.

It conjured up flashbacks to the Belarussians' shocking quarter-final upset of Sweden at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. But Alfredsson's late goal put an end to that line of thinking.

Alfredsson now has 22 points in the four Olympics since National Hockey League players began full participation in the Winter Games in 1998 in Nagano, Japan. Only Teemu Selanne of Finland has scored more (26) in that span.

Sweden, which blanked Germany 2-0 in its Olympics opener, wraps up the preliminary round against Scandinavian rival Finland on Sunday. In the late game Friday, Senators forward Jarkko Ruutu scored his second goal of the Olympic tournament as the Finns blanked the Germans 5-0 (game recap).

Meanwhile, the Czech Republic made it two straight wins at Vancouver 2010 by dumping Latvia 5-2 on Friday night (game recap). The Czech roster includes forward Milan Michalek and defenceman Filip Kuba of the Senators, while Kaspars Daugavins of the Binghamton Senators is part of Latvia's squad.

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