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Swede Success
Favorites Canada and Russia fail to medal in ice hockey competition
By Michelle Sheena
Scholastic Kids Press Corps

Sweden celebrates their 3-2 win over Finland in the gold medal ice hockey
Sweden celebrates their 3-2 win over Finland in the gold medal ice hockey match at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games on Sunday February 26, 2006.
(Photo: Gene J. Puskar/AP Wide World)
Sunday, February 26—Teemu Selanne of the Finnish Olympic ice hockey team had two teeth knocked out during a quarterfinal game against the U.S. He flashed his "new smile" around after he won against the red, white and blue. Later, his smile changed to pain when Sweden, Finland's biggest rival, beat his country to win Olympic gold.

It was a game full of drama, excitement, and irony on the last day of the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy.

In the game for gold, Sweden beat Finland 3-2. The winning goal was scored 10 seconds into the third period by Nicklas Lidstrom. He was assisted by Mats Sundin and Peter Forsberg. Lindstrom, Sundin, and Forsberg are the teams superstars.

"That was a great goal by three great guys," said Sweden's Daniel Sedin said. "It was a good fit for it to come down to that. They've been an example to younger Swedish guys for a long time, so it's great to see them do it."

In the heated exchange between two big neighboring countries, Sweden's Lidstrom pounded a slap shot past Finland's Antero Niittymaki, after it had ricocheted off of Saku Koivu's stick. Koivu's stick snapped in two.

"This is the drama of sport," said Finland's coach, Erkka Westerland. "They score the winning goal coming off a broken stick on our side."

It was one of several disappointments for the Finns against a team they have failed so often to match.

Finland had played perfectly, winning seven games in a row—until they faced Sweden. These teams played eight games each in just 12 days.

"The silver medal is never going to turn into gold, even when it is 100 years old," said Selanne who led the Finnish offense throughout the Olympic Games. "I think a while later, it'll be a little less disappointing, but I thought we deserved better than this."

A rally by Finland's Olli Jokinen almost forced the game into overtime in the final seconds. An amazing save by Sweden's goalie Henrik Lundqvist secured Sweden its second gold medal in ice hockey.

The Czech Republic was also on the medals podium after winning the bronze medal game. The favorites coming into the games, Russia and Canada left empty-handed.

The U.S. was eliminated by Finland in the semifinals. While Russia won its match against Canada, the team was knocked out by Finland.

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U.S. Women's Ice Hockey players celebrate bronze medal win
Jenny Potter (L) of the U.S., her daughter Madison (C) and Katie King celebrate following their 4-0 victory in the women's bronze medal ice hockey game against Finland on February 20, 2006.
(Photo: Petr Josek/Reuters)
Bittersweet Bronze
U.S. women's ice hockey team takes the bronze medal
By Shannon Hauth
Scholastic Kids Press Corps

Monday, February 20—The U.S. Women's Hockey team overpowered Finland in the battle for the bronze medal, winning the game 4-0. By the end of the first period the U.S team was leading 3-0, and by early in the second period slammed another goal, ultimately sealing the deal.

Still, the women were somewhat disappointed after losing to Sweden in a 3-2 shootout in the semifinals. That loss placed them in the bronze-medal game instead of the gold medal game.

"It was subdued after the game, but we're happy to go home with at least some hardware," Katie King said.

King led her team to victory by scoring a hat trick (when someone scores three goals in the same game). The first goal was scored by Kelly Stephens, with assists from Julie Chu and Natalie Darwitz.

The second U.S. goal started Katie King's "trick," as she scored with a pounding finish into Finland's net. Two more goals were slammed into Finland's net to make up the magic three.

The U.S celebrated on the ice after the game with their lucky charm, Madison Potter, forward Jenny Potter's daughter.

By defeating Finland, the U.S. completed its set of medals: gold in Nagano, Japan, in 1998; silver in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2002; and bronze in Torino, Italy, 2006.

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Team Canada's Sarah Vaillancourt (left), of Sherbrooke, Quebec, scores on United States' Chanda Gunn
Team Canada's Sarah Vaillancourt (left), of Sherbrooke, Quebec, scores on United States' Chanda Gunn in a shootout Saturday, on April 9, 2005, at the World women's hockey championship in Linkoping Sweden.
(Photo: Jacques Boissinot/AP Wide World)
Hockey Faces Olympic Rule Changes
U.S. women's team talks to Scholastic Kid Reporters about the 2006 Winter Games
By Kyle Eichelberger
Scholastic Kids Press Corps

When athletes compete in the Olympics, the rules need to be understood by all. For the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, women's hockey rules are changing.

U.S. hockey team goalie Chandra Gunn explained during the USOC Media Summit that women's rules are different from the men's. The Media Summit was held in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in October.

"We play on a bigger ice rink and goalies are now allowed to play the puck," she told Scholastic News Online. "The offensive and defensive zones are smaller, and there's no checking."

Teammate Krissy Wendell explained that women's hockey is less restricted than men's hockey. Women's hockey is "more up and down." She said that it isn't as rough and that there is less "physical checking and hooking and tripping." In any case, she is a real hockey fan. She thinks the new rules will be "more beneficial to the fan and to promoting the sport."

Many hockey fans were disappointed last year when the National Hockey League season was canceled. Hockey in the 2006 Winter Olympics promises to reenergize hockey fans around the world!

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About Ice Hockey

The men's teams are made up of up to 20 players and 3 goaltenders. The women's teams are made up of up to 18 players and 2 goaltenders.

All 12 men's teams and eight women's teams play in the first round. The top four teams advance to the second instant knockout round. The team that wins all of its matches wins the gold medal.

Whom to Watch
The Dallas Stars Mike Modano, who captained the U.S. team at the World Championships last spring, will be among the top U.S. players to watch. The U.S. women's team will be led by captain Krissy Wendell.

Top International Competitors are the teams from Canada.

Ice Hockey games will be played on all but one day of the Olympics.

The women's gold medal game will take place on February 20. The men's gold medal game will be held February 26.

Photos, left to right: © Rick Rickman/NewSport/NewSport/Corbis; © Joe Cavaretta/AP Wide World.