United States 3 – Finland 2 ::: With a date against Russia in the semifinals on the line, Finland and the United States produced a fantastic game as the United States scored three of the five goals in the second period as they hung on to a 3-2 victory over Finland.
With the victory, not only do the Americans move onto the semifinals Friday and another crack at the Russians (lost 4-1 on Saturday), but they also ended a long winless streak against the Finns. The United States had not won a game in their previous eight tries (seven losses and a tie). Their last victory came during the 2002 Olympics. It also was the United States first win in the quarterfinals in the last five years.
It was a fast start for Finland while the Americans were trying to find their legs in the first period. But despite being outshot 20-7 in the first 20 minutes of play, there was no score on the board as Robert Esche was spectacular in stopping all 20 shots for the United States.
That no score changed just 57 seconds into the second.
Working on their third power play of the game, Niko Kapanen beat Esche five-hole. That started a fleury of scoring as all five goals were scored by the time the teams entered the second period intermission.
The United States would receive their first power play attempt when Hannes Hyvonen was sent to the box for interference 8:29 into the second. Then Ottawa’s Jarkko Ruutu was called for tripping 37 seconds later. On the 5-on-3 power play for 1:23, the US would work their magic.
Dustin Brown would rebound Ryan Suter’s shot past Nashville’s Pekka Rinne just two seconds after Hyvonen’s penalty expired, tying the score 10:31 into the period.
The US would take the 2-1 lead just 1:40 later as TJ Oshie took the pass from St. Louis teammate David Backes on a 3-on-2 break and buried it past Rinne. Suter would give the United States a 3-1 lead 2:08 later as he rebounded Jason Blake’s initial shot into the back of the net.
Finland would get to within one with 2:10 left in the period on a controversial goal. Jarkko Immonen took a shot just inside the blueline that hit Esche in the mask. The puck bounced out to the right side of the net where Hyvonen put it past the stunned Esche. It was a controversial goal because in International hockey, the play is blown dead if the puck strikes the goalie in the mask.
Just like that, the scoring dried up as Esche and Rinne stopped shot after shot in the third period.
Esche would rob Niklas Hagman with a spectacular glove save off a rebound attempt with just over 10 minutes left in third to keep it a 3-2 affair.
And there it would end a 3-2 US victory, despite Finland pulling their goalie late in the game in an attempt to tie the score.
Keith Ballard finished with three shots on net on 13:26 of ice time.
Universal Sports presents coverage of the 2009 IIHF Men’s World Hockey Championships from Berne, Switzerland, including live coverage of the gold medal game. Live online coverage begins tomorrow at 10:15 a.m. ET, with live TV coverage starting with the Finland vs. USA quarterfinal matchup tomorrow at 2:30 ET.
The Universal Sports broadcast team consists of the Los Angeles Kings’ play-by-play announcer Nick Nickson joined by former Kings forward Daryl Evans.
COVERAGE ON UNIVERSAL SPORTS:
Universal Sports, available in 45 million homes, will present more than 20 hours of coverage. It started with the Finland vs. USA quarterfinal matchup and will continue through to the medal matches. The gold medal game will be shown live on Universal Sports on Sunday at 2:30 p.m., ET.
Date Events Time (all times Eastern)
Thurs. SWE vs. CZE (LIVE) 2:30 – 5:30 p.m.
CAN vs. LAT 6 – 8:30 p.m.
Fri. RUS vs USA 6 – 8:30 p.m.
Semifinal #2 9 –11:30 p.m.
Sun. Bronze Medal Game (LIVE) 10 – 1:30 p.m.*
Gold Medal Game (LIVE) 2:30 – 5:30 p.m.LIVE COVERAGE ON UNIVERSALSPORTS.COM:
Log onto UniversalSports.com/hockey for the complete schedule, video highlights, recaps and photo galleries.
Date Events Time (all times Eastern)
Thurs. CAN vs. LAT 10:15 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.
SWE vs. CZE 2:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Fri. RUS vs. USA 10:15 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.
Semifinal #2 2:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Sun. Bronze Medal Game 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.*
Gold Medal Game 2:30 – 5:30 p.m.
*Schedules subject to change, coverage available only in the U.S. and territories.