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Wednesday, May 7, 2003
Sweden rallies from 5-1 deficit to advance

Associated Press

HELSINKI, Finland -- P.J. Axelsson scored with 4:54 to play as Sweden rallied from a 5-1 deficit to beat Finland 6-5 Wednesday and advance to the semifinals of the World Hockey Championships.

Sweden will play defending champion Slovakia on Friday. Slovakia beat Switzerland 3-1.

In Turku, Olympic champion Canada advanced with a 3-2 victory over Germany, on Eric Brewer's goal 37 seconds into overtime. The Canadians will play the Czech Republic, which beat Russia 3-0 in the other quarterfinal.

Finland went ahead 5-1 after Teemu Selanne completed a hat trick with a power-play goal 6:44 into the second period. But before a stunned sellout crowd of 13,441, the Swedes came all the way back to beat their rivals.

"It's hard to believe," said Swedish backup goalie Mikael Tellqvist, who replaced the Edmonton Oilers' Tommy Salo after he gave up the fifth Finnish goal.

Former NHL player Jorgen Jonsson started the rally by beating goalie Jani Hurme with a slap shot from the point at 8:04 into the second period. Peter Forsberg of the Colorado Avalanche cut the score to 5-3 with the first of his two goals, flipping a backhander into the net on a power play.

Jonas Hoglund made it 5-4, connecting with a one-timer from the slot. The Finns introduced Pasi Nurminen in goal at the start of the third period, but it didn't help.

Forsberg got the equalizer at 8:22 in the third with one of the most stunning goals in the tournament, going the length of the ice and capping the great rush with a wraparound goal from a sharp angle.

Axelsson, who plays for the Boston Bruins, scored the winner by tipping in a shot from the point by Ronnie Sundin against the short-handed Finns.

"It was a nightmare finish for the Finnish team," said Finland's head coach, Hannu Aravirta, who announced earlier that he was retiring after these championships.

Mats Sundin, the Toronto Maple Leafs captain, also scored for the Swedes.

Canada blew a 2-0 third-period lead against Germany before Brewer sent a wrist shot past screened goalie Robert Muller on a power play. It was his first goal of the tournament.

Milan Hejduk, who led the NHL this season with 50 goals, had a goal and an assist in the Czech Republic's win over Russia. Last year, the Czechs were denied a bid for a fourth straight world title when they were beaten by Russia in the quarterfinals.

Miroslav Satan of the Buffalo Sabres broke a 1-1 tie late in the second period and scored another goal early in the third to lead Slovakia past Switzerland.