Finland Loses Chance For Hockey Gold

Posted: February 27, 1988

CALGARY — Finland waited 36 years for its first Olympic hockey medal. It may have to wait four more for a chance at its first gold.

Hours after Canada's 8-1 victory over West Germany yesterday guaranteed the Finns at least a bronze medal, they played poorly against Czechoslovakia and lost, 5-2.

Had Finland won, it would have set up a gold-medal showdown tomorrow night with the Soviet Union. With the Finnish loss, however, the Soviets had a chance to assure themselves of the gold by defeating Sweden in a game to be played last night.

A Swedish victory or tie last night would have set up a three-way scramble, with only tomorrow's Finland-Soviet Union and Sweden-Czechoslovakia games remaining.

In dampening Finland's hopes, Igor Liba led Czechoslovakia with two goals, and Dusan Pasek added another goal along with three assists.

The Czechoslovaks scored on all four of their power plays, and all came within the first 36 seconds of the man-advantage situations. Goalie Dominik Hasek, who appeared sparingly in the preliminary round because of a stomach injury, made 24 saves. The Finns' second goal came on a fluke bounce off a defenseman's stick.

After his team had lost to Sweden, 6-2, in the previous round, Czechoslovak coach Frantisek Pospisil questioned his players' "courage to play the physical style of hockey." In the first period against the Finns, the Czechoslovaks came out hitting, putting Finland off its normal game.

Jiri Sejba scored at 7 minutes, 16 seconds, to give Czechoslovakia a 1-0 lead. Jarmo Myllys, the hottest goaltender in the tournament entering the game, stopped Pasek's power-play shot from the point, but Sjeba was unchecked at the goal mouth and knocked in the rebound.

At 2:06 of the second period, Pasek gave the Czechoslovaks a 2-0 lead with another power-play goal. From the left circle, Pasek hit the top corner on the near side with a slapshot.

Erkki Laine pulled Finland to within 2-1 at 6:31, collecting a loose puck near the left corner and snapping a shot that trickled through goaltender Hasek's pads. Liba made it 3-1 at 13:24, knocking in the rebound of Pasek's drive from the point on a power play.

In the third period, Hasek stopped a two-on-one break with a flashing skate save, and Vladimir Ruzicka and Liba added Czechoslovakia's final goals later.

Finland's Raimo Helminen, a former New York Ranger and Minnesota North Star, did not play.

*

Against, West Germany, Zarley Zalapski, who will report to the Pittsburgh Penguins after the Winter Games, triggered a four-goal outburst in the second period to lead Canada.

Zalapski scored unassisted at 6:22 of the second period to break a 1-1 tie. After West German defender Horst-Peter Kretschmer lost the puck in center ice, Zalapski carried it past the right side of the net and flipped a backhander that deflected off a defenseman's stick and past goaltender Josef Schlickenrieder.

Minutes later, West Germany received a two-man advantage on penalties to Trent Yawney and Tim Watters, but Canada escaped as goaltender Andy Moog had several stops from point-blank range. Moog finished with 30 saves for Canada (1-2-1), which trails Sweden (1-1-2) by one point in the medal round.

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