NAGANO, Japan -- Forward Daniel Alfredsson scored two goals and linemate Peter Forsberg added two assists as Sweden defeated the United States, 4-2, here Friday afternoon in the opening game for both teams at the XVIII Olympic Winter Games.
Goaltender Tommy Salo registered 29 saves and held the United States scoreless for the final 47:10 of play to preserve the victory for Sweden, the defending Olympic gold medalists in men’s ice hockey.
The United States built a 1-0 lead at 11:10 of the first period when team captain Chris Chelios (Chicago Blackhawks/Chicago, Ill.) scored on a blast from just inside the blue line. Chelios’ goal was assisted by forwards Bill Guerin (Edmonton Oilers/Wilbraham, Mass.) and Keith Tkachuk (Phoenix Coyotes/Melrose, Mass.).
Sweden answered at 12:26 of the first period when Alfredsson, who plays for the National Hockey League’s Ottawa Senators, flipped a shot past U.S. goaltender Mike Richter (New York Rangers/Abington, Pa.). The power-play goal was set-up by an assist from Forsberg.
Team USA regained the lead just :24 later when forward Mike Modano (Dallas Stars/Livonia, Mich.) scored on a shot from beyond the right face-off circle. Modano’s goal was assisted by Guerin.
Sweden tied the score, 2-2, at 1:50 of the second period when forward Patric Kjellberg scored on a two-on-one breakaway with assists from Mikael Renberg and Ulf Samuelsson. Alfredsson then worked a loose puck past Richter from in close for his second goal of the game, giving Sweden a 3-2 lead at 11:33 of the second period. Forsberg was credited with an assist on the goal, which proved to be the game-winner.
Mats Sundin closed the scoring for Sweden with a goal at 17:04 of the third period, making the final 4-2.
The United States continues round-robin play in the championship portion of the Olympic men’s ice hockey tournament Saturday against Belarus, while Sweden faces Canada. Face-off for the USA-Belarus game is set for 2:45 p.m. in Big Hat Arena.
SWE 1-2-1 -- 4
USA 2-0-0 -- 2
First Period -- Scoring: 1, USA, Chelios (Guerin, Tkachuk), 11:10. 2, SWE, Alfredsson (Forsberg), 12:26 (pp). 3, USA, Modano (Guerin), 12:50. Penalties: Forsberg, SWE (holding the stick), 1:22; Deadmarsh, USA (roughing), 11:35; Schneider, USA (high sticking), 13:44.
Second Period -- Scoring: 4, SWE, Kjellberg (Renberg, Samuelsson), 1:50. 5, SWE, Alfredsson (Forsberg), 11:33. Penalties: Johansson, SWE (cross checking), 4:14; Amonte, USA (roughing), 18:57; Johansson, SWE (roughing), 18:57.
Third Period -- Scoring: 6, SWE, Sundin (Andersson), 17:04. Penalties: Carney, USA (interference), 5:09; Ohlund, SWE (hooking), 6:15; Chelios, USA (elbowing), 20:00.
Shots On Goal -- SWE 6-5-9 -- 20; USA 14-8-9 --31.
Goaltenders -- SWE, Salo (31 shots, 29 saves); USA, Richter (20 shots, 16 saves)
Penalties -- SWE 4/8; USA 5/10
Power Plays -- SWE 1/5; USA 0/4.
Attendance -- 9,985.
Tag(s): 1998 - Nagano, Japan