Finland is off to the championship game of the men’s Olympic hockey tournament after beating Slovakia 2-0 on Friday.
The Finns beat Slovakia 6-2 during the round-robin portion of the tournament. Finland won the other previous Olympic meeting between the two nations, taking a 5-3 win back in 2010 with NHLers in the bronze medal game.
Finland is guaranteed at least a silver for the third time in the team’s Olympic history, grabbing second in Calgary in 1988 and again in Italy in 2006. This will be the seventh medal game for Finland in the past 10 tournaments, helping prove that they’re one of the best teams on the Olympic circuit.
Finland will await the winner of Sweden vs. Russia later on Friday to finalize its opponent for Sunday afternoon’s championship game.
Slovakia will look to win its first medal in tournament history, with its only bronze medal game appearance coming in that 2010 loss to the Finns.
After some good back-and-forth between the two teams, Finland scored at 15:58 to break the deadlock. Sakari Manninen managed to beat Patrik Rybar after Petteri Lindbohm’s shot was stopped, but Manninen got the rebound and fooled Rybar into moving his leg out of the way for the 1-0 goal. The Slovaks tried desperately to beat Finnish goaltender Harri Sateri, who stopped all 28 shots sent his way, but an empty netter by Harri Pesonen with 38.6 seconds left sealed the deal for Finland.
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