Dream Team Russia Ices Swedes, Finns

By Gennady Fyodorov
SPECIAL TO THE ST PETERSBURG TIMES

MOSCOW - Russia's Dream Team on ice edged past two Scandinavian opponents in weekend friendly exhibition matches ahead of this month's important World Cup of Hockey tournament.

Featuring National Hockey League superstars like Detroit's Sergei Fedorov and Vancouver's Pavel Bure and Alexander Mogilny, the team played their first match together Friday at Moscow's CSKA Ice Palace, beating Finland 5-4 under the eye of Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and some 5,000 fans.

The Russian All-Stars then traveled to Stockholm's Globe Arena, where they defeated Sweden 3-2 on a Vyacheslav Kozlov power-play goal in the final period Sunday night.

The opening game at the sell-out CSKA's arena was especially important for the Russians.

"We were all a bit nervous before the match," said Bure, who played his first game after reconstructive knee surgery nine months ago.

The top Russian line of Bure, Fedorov and Mogilny were able to take control of the match in the final period, scoring twice to give the hosts the lead after Finland came back to tie the score at 3-3.

"We had to show to everyone the unity on this team," said Fedorov. "We are not a bunch of superstars but a tightly-knit team."

The Hockey World Cup begins Aug. 26 in the U.S. and Canada. The cup will be the first occasion since the Canada Cup - last held 10 years ago - when national teams fielding a full roster of NHL players will compete in a full scale tournament. Russia's first game of the event will be Aug. 29 against Canada.