Finns finish fifth

Russia posts worst results since 2001

04.01.2010
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Credit Union Centre Saskatoon Saskatchewan Canada

The Finns celebrate after opening the scoring against Russia. Photo: Matthew Manor / HHOF-IIHF Images

SASKATOON – Finland exploited Russia's poor team discipline to prevail 4-3 in the fifth-place game on Monday at Credit Union Centre. Teemu Hartikainen scored the winner on the power play with under six minutes to play.

Russia – Finland 3-4 (2-1, 0-1, 1-2)


Although disappointed to be out of the medals, the Finns posted their best result since 2006's bronze. The sixth-place Russians, however, go home without at least a silver or bronze for the first time since 2004, when they came fifth. Only once have the Russians had a worse finish: seventh place in 2001.

Hartikainen's winner came with Russia serving its first of two consecutive minors for too many men on the ice, much to the displeasure of Russian head coach Vladimir Plyushchev. The Russians pulled goalie Igor Bobkov for an extra attacker in the final minute, but it was to no avail.

Bobkov wasn't his team's starter and neither was Finland's Joni Ortio. Both teams charitably put in their underused backup goalies at the outset (Petteri Simila for Finland, Ramis Sadikov for Russia), and then reverted to their number ones in the second period.

All four Finnish goals came on the power play, while the Russians only scored at even strength. As usual, the Finns outshot their opponents by a wide margin (35-19), but were better at capitalizing on their chances than in their 2-0 loss to Russia in the Preliminary Round.

Maxim Trunev opened the scoring for Russia early in the first period, but Teemu Eronen made it 1-1 at 16:08 with Vladimir Tarasenko off for tripping. The shifty Alexander Burmistrov put Russia up 2-1 with 23 seconds to go in the first, which could have been a major morale boost for his team.

However, Finland rallied for the 2-2 marker late in the second period, courtesy of Pekka Jormakka.

In the third period, Burmistrov and Nikita Zaytsev put their team in a hole with elbowing and high-sticking penalties back-to-back. The Finns capitalized on the 5-on-3 with captain Jyri Niemi's third goal of the tournament to make it 3-2 at 6:14.

Burmistrov somewhat redeemed himself with the tying goal less than five minutes later. But that just set the stage for Hartikainen's winner.

LUCAS AYKROYD
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