CHICAGO CHICAGO — LaFontaine's goal boosts U.S. over Finland, 4-3
CHICAGO -- Pat LaFontaine's goal with 2 minutes, 33 seconds remaining gave the United States a 4-3 victory over Finland last night and second place in the round-robin portion of the Canada Cup.
The Americans finished 4-1-0 for eight points, their best showing ever in the six-team tournament. Canada, which tied the Soviet Union, 3-3, last night to finish 3-0-2 for eight points, finished first because it beat the United States, 6-3, in their head-to-head meeting.
The United States and Finland (2-2-1) will meet tomorrow in Hamilton, Ontario, in the first semifinal; the Canadians will play Sweden (2-3-0) on Thursday night in Toronto. The best-of-three final round starts Saturday in Montreal.
LaFontaine, the New York Islanders' star center, broke a 3-3 tie when he raced in from the blue line, took Kelly Miller's pass-out from behind the net and fired a wrist shot from the top of the right circle over goaltender Jukka Tammi's left shoulder.
The Americans, sparked by two goals from Joel Otto, took a 3-1 lead after one period.
Craig Janney opened the scoring at 8:05, tipping in Brett Hull's wrist shot. But Petri Skriko, Janney's teammate with the Boston Bruins, got the Finns even just 12 seconds later, beating defenseman Gary Suter down the middle and wristing the puck past John Vanbiesbrouck.
Otto broke the tie at 15:30, knocking in Craig Wolanin's rebound, then made it 3-1 when he converted former Calgary teammate Joe Mullen's cross-ice pass 11 seconds later.
QUEBEC -- Brent Sutter's goal with 5:18 remaining gave Canada a tie with the Soviet Union and first place in the round-robin portion.
The Soviets, who learned before the game that they had been eliminated from the medal round of the tournament, had three one-goal leads. But Canada rallied each time and Sutter, a center with the New York Islanders, gave the Canadians a point when he picked up a loose puck, skated around a pile of bodies and scored into the open side of the net.
Ravil Khaidarov, Andrei Kovalenko and Alexander Semak scored the once-mighty Soviets finished fifth with a 1-3-1 record.
Steve Larmer and Eric Lindros, who has said he does not intend to play for Quebec but received only a fraction of the booing anticipated from the Colisee crowd of 14,275, also scored for Canada.
Sweden 5, Czechoslovakia 2
TORONTO -- Mats Sundin, who scored the goal that gave Sweden the world championship in May, got the game-winner against Czechoslovakia to give the Swedes the last semifinal berth.
Sundin scored at 18:27 of the second period to break a 2-2 tie. Ulf Dahlen added a pair of third-period goals to enable the Swedes to join Canada, the United States and Finland in the semifinals.
The victory eliminated Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union, which needed a victory over the Canadians and a tie between the Swedes and Czechoslovaks to advance.