By Josh Ferguson
Team USA claimed Group A supremacy from the Canadians and collect a bye to the quarterfinals with a 5-3 victory at Canada Hockey Place on Sunday night.
Finnish sensation Teemu Selanne became the all-time leading scorer in Olympic history in a 5-0 victory over Germany in Group C play at Canada Hockey Place on Friday night.
The ‘Finnish Flash’ achieved the milestone with his 37th point in Olympic competition, an assist on a Kimmo Timonen goal in the second period. The 2010 Games mark Selanne’s fifth appearance at the tournament for Finland.
Beyond the historic night for the 39-year-old veteran was a perfectly executed hockey game by the Finns. Niklas Backstrom stopped all 24 shots he faced for the shutout in his Olympic debut and the squad in front of him went 4-for-6 on the power play.
Tuomo Ruutu opened the scoring with the man advantage at 4:21 of the first by tapping home a gift on the goal line after German keeper Dimitri Patzold let a Janne Niskala point blast squeak by him.
In the second period, with Thomas Greilinger serving two minutes in the box for tripping, Finland capitalized when Timonen converted a pretty backdoor pass from Olli Jokinen to make it 2-0.
Shortly after Marco Sturm almost broke the scoreless drought for the Germans, Jochen Hecht was called for slashing to give the Finns their third power play opportunity. Finland’s meticulous play on the man advantage continued when Timonen fired a wrist shot through a screened Patzold for his second of the game.
Finland would add two more goals, from Jarkko Ruutu and Joni Pitkanen, in the third to earn their second win of the tournament.
The Finns have shown no signs of lacking team cohesiveness through two games – outscoring their opponents 10-1 and outshooting them 80-36. Perhaps the biggest story for Finland has been their power play. For a team who was forecasted to lack offense, they have gone 6-for-12 on the man advantage.
Although they have opened the tournament against two lower-ranked teams in Germany and Belarus, it’s clear the Finns are hungry to redeem themselves after losing the gold medal to Sweden in 2006.
Finland (2-0-0-0) will at least get a piece of the Swedes when they battle for top spot in Group C on Sunday to close out the round robin. Germany (0-2-0-0) is the only team yet to score in the tournament and will need a win against Belarus on Saturday to improve their ranking for the qualification round.