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U.S. OLYMPIC WOMEN'S ICE HOCKEY TEAM HANDS FINLAND FIRST LOSS, 4-2

NAGANO, Japan (February 11) -- The 1998 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team again used a strong second period to post a victory at the XVIII Olympic Winter Games, defeating Finland, 4-2, here Wednesday evening. It was the first loss in the preliminary round for Finland, leaving the United States and Canada as the remaining teams with undefeated records. With the victory, the United States improved to 3-0-0, while Finland fell to 2-1-0.

Forward and assistant captain Karyn Bye (River Falls, Wis.) led the way for Team USA with a three-point performance on one goal and two assists.

The United States struck first in the opening period on a goal by defenseman Vicki Movsessian (Lexington, Mass.) at 2:48. Finland later tied the score, 1-1, with less than two minutes remaining in the period on a power-play goal by defenseman Kirsi Maaria Haenninen.

The United States answered quickly in the second stanza on an equal-strength tally from Bye at 1:22. Forward Jennifer Schmidgall (Edina, Minn.) was credited with an assist on the goal. Finland's Hanna-Riikka Nieminen then drove a rebound over the right shoulder of U.S. goaltender Sarah Tueting (Winnetka, Ill.) at the 5:27 mark to knot the score, 2-2, with an unassisted short-handed goal.

Skating on the power play, Team USA defenseman Tara Mounsey (Concord, N.H.) netted what proved to be the game-winner from 10 feet out at 6:49 in the period. Bye and Sue Merz (Greenwich, Conn.) assisted on the play to give the United States a 3-2 lead. At 16:56 in the second period, U.S. forward Gretchen Ulion (Marlborough, Conn.) successfully directed a cross-ice pass from Bye past the right leg of Finland's goaltender, Tuula Puputti, to close out scoring in the game.

Both teams were held scoreless in the third period to make the final score, 4-2.

Team USA goaltender Tueting stopped 20 shots to claim her second victory in the tournament, while Finland's Puputti made 21 saves in a losing effort.

The United States (3-0-0) continues round-robin play Thursday against Japan (0-3-0), while Finland (2-1-0) faces Canada (3-0-0). Face-off for the USA-Japan game is set for 4:00 p.m. in Aqua Wing Arena.

SCORING SUMMARY
Team USA 1 3 0 -- 4
Team Finland 1 1 0 -- 2

First period -- Scoring: 1, USA, Movsessian (King), 2:48. 2, FIN, Haenninen (Lehto, Nieminen), 18:09 (pp). Penalties: Krooks, FIN (tripping), 9:41; USA (too many players), 14:25; Schmidgall, USA (body checking), 15:39; Dunn, USA (hooking), 17:09.

Second period -- Scoring: 3, USA, Bye (Schmidgall), 1:22. 4, FIN, Nieminen (unassisted), 5:27 (short handed). 5, USA, Mounsey (Bye, Merz), 6:49 (pp). 6, USA, Ulion (Bye), 16:56. Penalties: Mounsey, USA (hooking), 2:22; Salo, FIN (hooking), 5:16; Ikonen, FIN (body checking), 6:31; Looney, USA (holding), 7:41; Ruggiero, USA (body checking), 9:31; Haenninen, FIN (body checking), 12:52; Ruggiero, USA (hooking), 14:52.

Third period -- Scoring: None. Penalties: Coyne, USA (roughing), 8:27; Nieminen, FIN (roughing), 8:27; Mounsey, USA (cross checking), 9:58.

Shots on Goal -- USA 6-7-12 -- 25; Finland 6-10-6 -- 22.

Goalies -- USA, Tueting (22 shots, 20 saves); FIN, Puputti (25 shots, 21 saves).

Penalties -- USA 9/18; FIN 5/10.

Power Plays -- USA 1/4; FIN 1/5.

Attendance -- 3,680.


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