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Koivu's Finns squeak by again

Finland didn’t get the jolt it hoped for from Saku Koivu, but it stillscraped by with a 2-1 win over Latvia at the world hockey championshipon Friday at the Metro Centre.

Finland didn’t get the jolt it hoped for from Saku Koivu, but it still scraped by with a 2-1 win over Latvia at the world hockey championship on Friday at the Metro Centre.

Latvian goaltender Edgars Masalskis nearly engineered an upset with a phenomenal 62-save performance, including a whitewash amid a stunning 36-save first-period barrage.

Finland was a brutal 0-for-14 on the power play, but Niko Kapanen scored the game-winner with 9:56 left as Koivu tasted victory in his tournament debut.

“When you get 60 shots, you’re hoping to get more than two goals,” said Koivu, who is the captain of the Montreal Canadiens. “There were a lot of 5-on-3s, a lot of great chances, but they played well and their goalie played great.

“It’s not always easy. You can’t score six, seven goals every game, but we were hoping and expecting more than two.”

Koivu had no points, three shots, 26 shifts and 21:41 of ice time, while skating on a line with Teemu Selanne and Ville Peltonen. His younger brother, Mikko, lined up on the second unit with Tuomo Ruutu and Olli Jokinen.

Finland, which has won all four of its games, also barely squeaked by Norway, needing overtime to post a 3-2 victory.

“These teams know how to play, they know how to defend, and it’s not easy,” said Koivu. “Those days are over when you take an opponent lightly and say it’s going to be easy.”

Masalskis said he felt “empty” afterward.

“So much work, and the guys were doing a great job blocking shots,” he said. “I don’t know how many penalty minutes we survived. Forty, maybe? No? It was crazy.”

matthew.wuest@metronews.ca

 
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