Finland wins hockey gold in last event of Beijing Olympics
Finland roared back to beat defending champions Russia 2-1 on Sunday and win the country’s first gold medal in ice hockey, in the final event at the Beijing Olympics.
Russia scored first on a power-play goal by Mikhail Grigorenko 13 minutes into the game after Finland’s Hannes Bjorninen was sent to the penalty box for high-sticking.
But the more cohesive Finnish attack controlled the puck for much of the match and continually created chances.
The Finns tied it in the second period when a shot by Ville Pokka squirted between the legs of a Russian defender and past imposing two-meter (6-foot-6) goalie Ivan Fedotov.
The Finns went ahead 30 seconds into the final period when Bjorninen scored, and nearly added more down the stretch.
The two teams came into Beijing as joint favorites after perennial contenders Canada and the United States were weakened by the NHL’s decision to keep its stars home over pandemic concerns.
The US and Canada, making do with second-choice rosters, fell in the quarterfinals.
It was the second straight time that NHL superstars were absent from the Winter Olympics, which clashes with the North American league’s schedule.
The gold medal was Finland’s second of the Games, the other coming in men’s cross-country skiing.
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