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Finland Tops Russia, Ends Host's Medal Dreams

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks
By Corey Masisak |

SOCHI -- Led by 43-year-old captain Teemu Selanne's two-point night (1g/1a), Finland stunned Russia and the nearly 12,000 in attendance at Bolshoy Ice Dome with a 3-1 victory in the quarterfinals Wednesday.

The undermanned Finns are missing their top four centers, but they will play for a medal Friday against Sweden.

Selanne, the oldest player in the tournament, says the victory is one he'll remember for quite some time.

"It ranks pretty high," he said. "Beating Russia in their home tournament where all the best players are is huge. Especially with four of our best centers out of this tournament, we don’t have the depth that some other teams have. We have to be very proud of this."

Juhamatti Aaltonen got the Finns even 87 seconds later with a brilliant individual move. He turned Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Nikita Nikitin inside out near the goal line and then tucked a shot off Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov and in for his first of the Olympics at 9:18.

Selanne gave the Finns the lead at 17:38 of the first. Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov failed to stop the puck along the right wall and Minnesota Wild forward Mikael Granlund blew past him to retrieve it and set up a 2-on-1. Granlund fed the ageless Selanne, who muffed the shot but it still slid between Varlamov's legs.

It was the 43-year-old Selanne's second of the tournament, and set a new record for oldest goal scorer in the Olympics, a mark he had set five days earlier with a goal against Norway.

"The good thing is … we don’t have that problem with having four first lines that have to play 25 minutes a game," said Selanne. "We accept our roles and we know what we can do. We just believe if we can outwork the other team, we have a good chance to win. Tonight’s game was a perfect example."

Granlund scored a power-play goal to make it 3-1 in the second period. Alexei Emelin was in the box for tripping Finland's Lauri Korpikoski when Granlund steered the rebound of a Selanne shot past Varlamov at 5:37.

Shortly after Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky came in to replace Varlamov. Bobrovsky blanked Finland the remainder of the way.

The Russian offense came to life in the second half of the second period and they generated several quality scoring chances. Rask didn't have a lot of tough work in the first period but he kept the lead at two goals in the final minutes of the second with big saves.
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