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Olympics / Sports

Sweden forward Loui Eriksson (21) scores against Finland goalie Karl Lehtonen (32) in the second period of a men's hockey semifinal at Bolshoy Ice Dome during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014. Sweden defeated Finland 2-1 to advance to the gold medal game. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/MCT)

Sweden beats Finland, 2-1, in men's hockey semifinal

SOCHI, Russia -- Sweden wasn't about to allow the loss of several top players to keep it from its quest for the gold medal.

The top-seeded Swedes got one step closer when they defeated Finland, 2-1, in the semifinals of the men's hockey tournament Friday. Sweden will face Canada in the gold-medal game on Sunday. After losing Henrik Sedin and Johan Franzen before the Olympics started and captain Henrik Zetterberg during the Games because of injuries, Sweden hasn't missed a beat.

"Even though we lost some players, we had some other players step in and do a really good job," said defenseman Erik Karlsson, who scored the game-winner in the second period. "Everyone has really (been) dedicated to what we need to do and here we are. There's only one more game to go."

In addition to Karlsson's score, Loui Eriksson also found the back of the net and that was enough for goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. The veteran made 25 saves to outduel Kari Lehtonen, who started in goal for Finland because of an illness to Tuukka Rask.

"The dream is to win so I don't think anybody is satisfied so far," Sweden defenseman Johnny Oduya said. "At this point, it's just coming up with the biggest game of the tournament."

Olli Jokinen scored for Finland, which will face the United States for the bronze on Saturday.

"It's tough," said Finn Teemu Selanne. "I'm more disappointed that we couldn't play our best game in the tournament. Our goal was to play your best game and whatever happens, you can always live with that. I felt we were one step behind many times.

"It's hard to swallow but you've also got to give credit to them."

(c)2014 Chicago Tribune

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Distributed by MCT Information Services

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