International Ice Hockey Federation

Sweden stuns Finland, 4-2

Sweden stuns Finland, 4-2

Favourites eliminated from Olympic play

Published 15.02.2014 15:21 GMT+4 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Sweden stuns Finland, 4-2
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 15: Sweden's Jenni Asserholt #4, Pernilla Winberg #16, Michelle Lowenhielm #28 celebrates a their third period against team Finland during women's quarterfinal action at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Emma Eliasson's power-play goal with 4:15 remaining in regulation led Sweden a stunning 4-2 victory over Finland, sending the Swedes to the semi-finals.

The Swedes will now play the U.S. on Monday for one spot in the gold-medal game. For Finland, Olympic bronze medallists four years ago, the team will end up empty-handed and has to play in the placement games.

It was Eliasson's first goal in 14 games over three Olympics. This was news to the native of Kiruna, Sweden, hometown to Borje Salming. "Was it? I didn't know. Good timing," she said with a smile.

"It's awesome. It feels fantastic," Eliasson continued. "The game finished a lot better than it started. Our power play wasn't very good earlier in the game. We couldn't get the puck through to the goal, so when I saw an opportunity to get the puck through, I fired." 

"They didn't have too many chances, but they scored on them, and we didn't score on ours," said Finland's Minttu Tuominen. "If you score more goals, you win the game."

The win came in a rivalry that is equal to the Canada-U.S. battle in North America. "We're the worst enemies ever. It feels great," Eliasson added.

"We had a great year before this," said Michelle Karvinen. "We hadn't lost to any European team so far, and losing this in an Olympic quarter-final is devastating. It was tough trying to come back at the end after we had control for most of the game."

Almost all of the excitement in the scoreless first period was created by Karvinen. She had one fine rush in which she rattled a hard shot off the post and followed with another scoring chance from close in.

A short time later she had another excellent chance but fired wide, and on the final shift she made a fine end-to-end rush that almost resulted in a goal.

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At the other end, the Finns played near perfect defence, allowing only six harmless shots at Valentina Wallner.

The second period was not only full of action but it was a 20-minute session that got more than a little nasty. Emma Nordin had a great chance to open the scoring on the power play but Raty made a sensational glove grab.

The Finns opened the scoring at 13:16 off the rush. Linda Valimaki’s long shot was blocked by Wallner, but the goalie couldn’t control the rebound. Venla Hovi snapped a great shot over Wallner’s shoulder to make it 1-0.

Then the fireworks started. Mostly every time either goalie froze the puck, a scrum ensued, with plenty of pushing and shoving and the occasional dirty jab which kept referee Nicole Hertich busy.

A power play to Sweden that carried over to the third period on fresh ice gave Damkronorna a chance to tie the game, and they did just that. Anna Borgqvist's weak shot went off the stick of a diving Finnish defenceman and over Raty's glove at 0:46 to bring the teams back to even terms.

"That was the most important moment, when we scored that first goal," Erika Grahm said. "We had a lot of energy after that and turned the game around."

Three minutes later, Grahm had a clear break but her backhand off a deke was nabbed calmly by Raty.

Finland failed to pay attention to the warning signs and paid a steep price. Pernilla Winberg had the puck in the corner and made a perfect pass to Lina Wester, stationed in the middle of four Finns. She drilled a high shot in at 5:09 to give the Swedes a shocking lead.

Just 12 seconds later, the Finns responded on a similar goal. Karoliina Rantamaki fought for the puck behind the Swedish net and found Emma Nuutunen in front. Her one-timer beat Wallner to make it a 2-2 game and turn a defensive battle into a scoring thriller.

That set the stage for Eliasson's heroics. Emma Nordin added an empty-netter with 40.2 seconds left.

"We've lost to Finland a lot the last few years," noted Grahm. "It was perfect win today. We said to each other before we went out for the third period that if we worked hard, we could score. And we did."

They scored three times, enough to earn them a date in the semi-finals.


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