Finland beats Norway to reach semis at worlds

Jarkko Immonen scored twice to help Finland beat Norway 4-1 Thursday and reach the semifinals of the ice hockey world championship.

Finland will face Canada or Russia, who meet in another quarterfinal later Thursday.

“I don’t think it matters for us (who we play),” Finland captain Mikko Koivu said. “We have to stay strong as a team, do the things that we do good, trying to do things that we can do better a little bit better again, and move forward.”

After the scoreless opening period, Ken Andre Olimb gave the underdog Norwegians a surprising lead by converting a penalty shot 3:56 into the second.

But Immonen started the comeback with a slap shot to tie the game just 2 minutes later, and Tuomo Ruutu put the Finns ahead for good. Immonen added his second with another slap shot and Jani Lajunen completed the scoring.

Immonen is the top scorer at the worlds with seven goals. Ruutu has six goals.

“We have to be ready from the start tomorrow,” Immonen said.

Finland first three goals all came on power plays and the team needed just 12:28 for the four-goal rally.

“Our goaltending was very good, penalty killing was excellent, and also our power play was very efficient,” Finland coach Jukka Jalonen said.

Finnish goalie Petri Vehanen stopped 37 shots for the victory.

“Now we have a chance to play for the medals,” Jalonen said.

Finland, the 1995 champion, last won a medal at the 2008 worlds when it took bronze.

Norway has never beaten Finland at the worlds.