Classic bronze goes to Finland

Rantamäki the hero in overtime to give Finland 3-2 win at WW

Hallenstadion Zurich  Switzerland

Karolina Rantamäki (#29) and her Finnish teammates celebrate following a 3-2 OT win against Russia in the bronze medal game. Photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images

Finland vs. Russia 3-2 (1-0, 1-0, 0-2, 1-0) Game Sheet Photos

ZURICH – Karoliina Rantamäki scored at 2:49 overtime to give Finland the bronze medal at the World Women's Championship. A game that started off slowly came to life with another third-period comeback by Russia and a thrilling finish. "It's better to win in overtime!" said Minnamari Tuominen, who scored both regulation goals to lead Finland to its eighth bronze medal at the World Women’s Championship. Russia had to settle for fourth place, its best result since winning a bronze medal in 2001. "It’s absolutely great to win the bronze medal," said Michelle Karvinen. "It was a tight game, and I’m so happy that it ended well for us. I believed in our team and I knew we would come back. I think we were the better skaters, that’s why we won. I’m so proud of the team and especially for the newcomers, who did a great job." Tuominen got the only goal of the opening period on one of the precious few scoring opportunities of a somewhat sloppy period. She intercepted an errant clearing attempt by Russian captain Olga Permyakova and drilled a wrist shot over the glove of goalie Anna Prugova to give the Finns a 1-0 lead. "We had a really good forecheck going and I happened to get the puck," Tuominen explained. "It was a bit of a lucky shot." Tuominen got her second early in the middle period, her quick shot handcuffing Prugova at 1:18. Iya Gavrilova had a breakaway just moments later, but Noora Räty made a fine save off the attempted deke to keep the score 2-0 for the Finns. The Finns played virtually flawless defence through 40 minutes, but a different Russian team came out for the third period. They started their comeback when Inna Dyubanok ripped a loose puck past Räty to make it a 2-1 game. It summoned memories of their 3-0 comeback against Switzerland a few days ago. Marina Sergina tied the game just two and a half minutes later on the power play when she touched Permyakova’s wrist shot among a maze of players in front of a badly-screened Räty. The Russians had a couple of good chances to go ahead but were unable to convert and the game went to overtime. "We stopped playing our game and then took a couple of penalties," Tuominen explained. "After the third, we just said to ourselves that we're better than them, and we deserved to win, so let's go and win." The bronze is doubly impressive for Finland because the lineup featured ten new players from Vancouver, when Suomi won Olympic bronze 14 months ago. The Russians also leave Zurich with some positive momentum, notably their sensational comeback against the Swiss a few days ago. Said Russian assistant coach, Alexei Chistyakov: "That’s sport. That’s hockey. Finland won, which means for us that we have to work even harder in the future." Finnish coach Pekka Hamalainen boasted: "We’re proud of our players. The Russian team made this game an exciting battle. They know how to stage comebacks." ANDREW PODNIEKS
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