It has been a long and hard-fought battle, but the stage is finally set for the Gold and Bronze Medal games in the Men’s Hockey Competition at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. This morning, despite quite a bit of penalty minutes, Sweden was able to battle back and defeat Finland 2-1. This means that Sweden will advance to the Gold Medal game, and Finland will compete for the Bronze.
The first period was a lot of back and forth between these two teams, but despite a fair amount of Shots on Goal, neither side was able to pull the trigger.
The second started out the same way, but that would all come to an end soon. Just over six minutes into the second period Winnipeg Jets center Olli Jokinen would get Team Finland on the board. Unfortunately for Team Finland, it wouldn’t take Team Sweden to strike back.
At 11:39 in the period, Boston Bruins right wing Loui Eriksson would find his way to the back of the net with the assists from Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson and Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom. This would tie everything up 1-1.
Just under five minutes later, Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson would score what would ultimately become the game winning goal for Team Sweden with assists from St. Louis Blues left wing Alex Steen and Vancouver Canucks left wing Daniel Sedin.
As far as the offense is concerned, both of these teams were pretty evenly matched. Through 60 minutes of play, the Shots on Goal were 26-25 in favor of Finland. What this game ultimately came down to was a matter of the defense and goaltending.
Despite coming out with the loss, Dallas Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen had far from a bad day. He made 23 stops on 25 Shots on Goal giving him a Save Percentage of .920.
On the other side of the ice, it was “King Henry,” Henrik Lundqvist who would come out with the victory. During the battle on the ice, he would make 25 saves on 26 Shots on Goal giving him a Save Percentage of .961.
While the road to the Gold Medal may be over for Team Finland, all is definitely not lost. Their long and difficult journey through these Olympic Games has afforded them one last chance for Olympic Glory. On Saturday, Team Finland will go head to head with Team USA in the Bronze Medal game.
Team Sweden, on the other hand, will have to wait until Sunday to complete their Olympic journey. Early Sunday morning, Team Sweden will walk into the Bolshoy Ice Dome to go head to head with Tampa Bay Lightning captain Martin St. Louis and Team Canada for a chance to bring home the Gold.
Who do you think is going to come out on top in the Gold Medal game? Furthermore, has there been a player that has shined brighter than all the rest and really shown themselves to be the MVP? Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think.