Finland wins hockey gold in last event of Beijing Olympics | Inquirer Sports
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Finland wins hockey gold in last event of Beijing Olympics

/ 02:58 PM February 20, 2022
Finland hockey Beijing Winter Olympics

Finland’s players celebrate their win in the men’s gold medal match of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games ice hockey competition between Finland and Russia’s Olympic Committee, at the National Indoor Stadium in Beijing on February 20, 2022. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)

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.

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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.

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Finland Bjorninen hockey Beijing Winter Olympics

Finland’s Hannes Bjorninen (C) celebrates after scoring a goal during the men’s gold medal match of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games ice hockey competition between Finland and Russia’s Olympic Committee, at the National Indoor Stadium in Beijing on February 20, 2022. (Photo by ANTHONY WALLACE / AFP)

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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