Team Finland was ranked 4th after the preliminary round, their only loss came at the hands of Team Canada. Russia, who ended the preliminary round with 6 points, 1 less than Finland, was ranked 5th. Yesterday the hosts played Norway, and defeated them 4-0 to move onto the quarterfinals. Tuukka Rask started in net for Finland, and Semyon Varlamov started in the crease for Russia. Finland and Russia faced off at the Bolshoy Ice Dome, puck drop was at 4:30 PM local Sochi time, 7:30 AM EST.
Not even halfway through the opening period, Ilya Kovalchuk put the hosts on the board first, beating Rask, and putting Russia in the lead – assisted by Pavel Datsyuk. A little more than a minute later though, Finland evened up the game at 1. Finland’s Juhamatti Aaltonen, 28 year old who plays in the KHL, was the goal scorer. Veteran Teemu Selanne broke the deadlock towards the end of the first period, giving Finland a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission. The Russians out-shot the Fins 13-9.
The Russians not only out-shot Finland in the first period, but they did it again in the second period as well. Team Finland was the only team to put the puck in the back of the net though. Mikael Granlund continued his scoring in the Olympics and put a third goal past Varlamov – assisted by Selanne and Kimmo Timonen. The third goal by Team Finland would send Semyon Varlamov to the Russian bench, and Sergei Bobrovsky took over the crease. The period would end with Finland on top by a score of 3-1.
Bobrovsky was able to keep Finland off the scoreboard in the third, but unfortunately for Russia, Rask kept the Russians scoreless as well. Team Finland held off the Russians throughout the period and went on to win the game by a score of 3-1. Rask made 37 saves to earn the victory for Finland, Bobrovsky was perfect for Russia, but Varlamov surrendered 3 goals in less than 40 minutes. There will be lots of questions and most likely finger pointing regarding the Russian’s performance during the Olympics, especially since they had home ice advantage.
Finland will move on to the semifinals where they will face Sweden on the 21st. Sweden beat Slovenia earlier by a score of 5-0 to move on.