Finns Take Bronze in Hard-Fought Game

By Matthew Little
Matthew Little
Matthew Little
Matthew Little is a multi-media reporter for The Epoch Times.
February 28, 2010 Updated: February 28, 2010

VANCOUVER—On paper, the game wasn't looking good for Slovakia after the first period. They had half Finland's shots on goal, despite the Finland having twice the penalty time. They were also down one after Sami Salo took one to the net during a powerplay.

On the ice, it didn't look quite that bad, but the Slovak's hadn't found the fight that had left Canadians on the edge of their seats the night before when they harried Canada in the final minute of their semi-final game.

Canada managed to escape that onslaught, Finland did not.

Finland continued to dominate the game in the second half until Mikko Koivu drew a penalty for hooking when the Slovaks started putting pressure on the Finnish goalie. Slovakia didn't miss their chance and forward Marian Gaborik scored with the help of Pavol Demitra.

Slovakia scored again six minutes laters during a two-man advantage when the Finns could do little to stop them.

A big four minute penalty against Slovakian forward Branko Radivojevic looked set to dampen the Slovak's push but they proved unstoppable when Demitra scored a short-handed goal less than a minute later.

Down 3:1 at the end of the second period, Finland faced an uphill battle to get back in the game, and had the benefit of two minutes of power play still left but didn't manage to capitalize on the advantage. They had another chance a few minutes later when Martin Cibak was also sent to the box. Barely 30 seconds into Cibak's penalty, the Finns had a two-man advantage when Andrej Meszaros was also sent to the box.

In the tense minutes that followed, Finland tried to push their advantage but struggled to get past Slovak goalie Jaroslav Halak, a backup goalie for the Montreal Canadiens. With moments left in their powerplay, the Finns scored. Minutes later Olli Jokinen scored, bringing the game to 3:3.

With both teams drawing penalties consistently, the game turned on who had the advantage. Finland got their fourth goal on another powerplay when Jokinen scored again.

The Slovaks tried to tie it up by pulling their goalie in the last minute of play but ended up two goals short when Finland's Valtteri Filppula scored the final making the score 5:3.

Matthew Little is a multi-media reporter for The Epoch Times.