For the second game in a row, Finland has managed to win in the shootout, with goaltender Pekka Rinne stopping shots from the likes of Artemi Panarin, Sergei Mozyakin, and Ilya Kovalchuck to help his team come out on top of Russia as they head into the quarter-finals.
“It is always a great feeling when you beat Russia,” said Finnish defenseman Sami Lepisto. “It is a special thing.”
This win has placed Finland in second for Group B, which means they will be facing off against the Czech Republic for the first round in Prague, which means Czech will be playing in front of a home crowd.
The game was an exciting one, as both teams put up a big fight and gave each other plenty of action. Going into this game, Russia had won all four games in which they had scored the first goal, giving them all the more reason to take over the game early and be the dominant force. Russia kept pushing Finland, but the Fighting Finns pushed right back.
“We’ve always known what it’s like to play Finland and we prepared for it, including their physical game.” Yevgeni Malkin said. “We’ll have a look at the replays and look at the mistakes we made. Right now it’s hard to talk about what went wrong.”
Despite the heavy action being sent his way, Pekka Rinne managed to keep the puck out of his net for most of the period, but was beat with two minutes left in the period by Sergei Mozyakin, who had previously sent four shots Rinne’s way. This put Russia in an early 1-0 lead and added to the pressure Finland was surely feeling going into this game. To make it even harder on Finland, they lost Leo Komarov when he was sent away with a game misconduct for kneeing.
It was Finland who dominated the second period, firing back as Russia continued to lay on some strong offense. Unfortunately for Russia, they fell to a penalty and Finland took advantage of the man advantage when Aleksander Barkov sent a rebound hurling back between the goal posts and tying up the game for his country.
Not much happened in the third period until the game had begun winding down, as Russia managed to once again beat Rinne in the last five minutes of the period, bringing them to a 2-1 lead and seeming that they would be the winners in this matchup. Unfortunately for the Russians, Joonas Donskoi was able to swoop in and tie up the game just moments later. The buzzer rang out signaling the end of regulation, sending our teams into overtime.
Neither team was able to take advantage of the overtime, firing back and forth but never getting the puck into their opponent’s net. The shootout looked the same way when both Russia and Finland went back and forth, but Pekka Rinne and Sergei Bobrovski remained flawless, keeping their teams in the game until Joonas Donskoi, who had lost the puck on his first attempt, beat Bobrovski in the ninth shot attempt of the shootout. Pekka sent Artemi Panarin packing for the last attempt, signaling the end of the game and a win for Finland.
“It was nice to get a chance to shoot,” said a happy Donskoi afterward. “Sometimes I like to stickhandle a lot that’s why I lost the first one but lucky I got a second chance and the game winner.”