Finland wins first Olympic males’s ice hockey gold

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Finland received its first ever Olympic males’s ice hockey gold medal with a 2-1 victory over the Russian Olympic Committee on Sunday in Beijing.

Finland ahead Hannes Bjorninen scored the game-winning aim simply 31 seconds into the third interval. He added an help on Ville Pokka’s aim within the second interval that tied the rating after the ROC opened the scoring within the first interval.

This was the 18th Olympic males’s ice hockey match look for Finland, which was undefeated in six video games in Beijing. The nation received silver in 1988 and 2006 and captured bronze 4 instances (1994, 1998, 2010, 2014) earlier than capturing gold.

“It’s exhausting to place in phrases what it means. What a tricky match. I felt like we performed properly the entire time, and that is the reward,” stated Finland ahead Valtteri Filppula, who received a Stanley Cup with the Detroit Purple Wings in 2008. “Hockey’s a giant factor in Finland. That is for all of us, for positive.”

Harri Sateri made 16 saves, however it was the Finnish offensive assault and forecheck that received the day. Finland had a 21-14 shot edge after two intervals and ended with a 31-17 shot benefit for the sport. Russia was searching for its second straight Olympic males’s hockey gold medal — though not essentially by title.

Russia competed because the Russian Olympic Committee resulting from a ban from the World Anti-Doping Company, which prohibited Russian athletes from carrying their flag or any Russian image on their uniforms. This follows IOC sanctions in 2018, when Olympic athletes from Russia captured the gold on the Pyeongchang Olympics.

The ROC opened the scoring on its second shot. With Bjorninen within the field for a high-sticking penalty, ahead Mikhail Grigorenko used a wonderfully set display from teammate Pavel Karnaukhov to beat Sateri for a 1-0 lead simply 7:17 into the sport. Nikita Gusev picked up an help for his team-leading sixth level.

The Finns tied the rating simply 3:28 into the second interval. Defenseman Ville Pokka despatched a shot from simply contained in the blue line that went by the legs of defenseman Nikita Nesterov and previous goalie Ivan Fedotov to knot the rating at 1-1.

The Finns took a 2-1 lead 31 seconds into the third interval. The sequence started with Fedotov giving the puck away to Bjorninen. That sparked a forechecking clinic by Finland that had the ROC working round in its personal zone. Ahead Marko Anttila collected the puck and despatched a wrist shot from excessive within the zone. It was deflected by Bjorninen for the primary Finland lead.

Among the many former NHL gamers profitable gold for Finland: forwards Markus Granlund, Valtteri Filppula and Leo Komarov, in addition to defensemen Sami Vatanen and Mikko Lehtonen.

“Nice staff. Nice effort. It wasn’t simple for us, however we discovered a method to win each sport,” Anttila stated. “We discovered a method to win these powerful video games.”

The Beijing Olympics marked the second straight Winter Video games with out the participation of NHL gamers. Regardless of an settlement between the NHL and the NHLPA to ship gamers to Beijing, the league determined to decide out resulting from a fabric change to its 2021-22 regular-season schedule due to COVID-19 postponements.

Finland wasn’t the one Olympic staff to make historical past in Beijing. Slovakia, which eradicated the U.S. within the quarterfinals, defeated Sweden 4-0 to seize the bronze, its first Olympic males’s hockey medal.

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