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Monday, February 13, 2006
Finland, Sweden win to set field for women's hockey semifinals

Associated Press

TURIN, Italy -- Finland and Sweden won their second straight games Monday to finalize the semifinal field for the Olympic women's hockey tournament, even with four preliminary-round games still to play.

Therese Sjolander had three goals and an assist to lead seven Swedish players with multipoint games in a 11-0 victory over Italy. Karoliina Rantamaki had a goal and an assist in Finland's 4-0 win over Switzerland.

As expected, Sweden and Finland will join Canada and the U.S. -- all four teams have 2-0 records -- in the semifinals Friday. The teams also will meet Tuesday to conclude the preliminary round, with Finland taking on the Americans and Sweden facing Canada.

Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Russia remain winless in the eight-team tournament.

Italy, which still hasn't scored its first Olympic goal, managed just four shots against Swedish goalie Cecilia Andersson -- none in the third period -- despite a vocal home crowd. Italian goalie Debora Montanari grabbed the game puck and safeguarded it behind her shin pad as a souvenir after the final buzzer.

Finland won with three third-period goals, finally blowing open the tournament's tightest game to date. Florence Schelling made 37 saves in the second straight outstanding game by a Swiss goalie.