Russia avenged its early exit from the 2014 Sochi Olympics by dispatching Finland to win its 27th IIHF World Championship (its fifth as Russia), and unifying the title with the International Hockey Lineal Championship, to close out the 2014 Worlds in Minsk, Belarus.
A tight, hard-fought game through the first 40 minutes, both sides capitalized on a myriad of penalties to keep things evenly matched, with the game tied 1-1 after twenty (on a power play goal from Sergei Shirokov, and a Finnish equalizer from Iiro Pakarinen), and 3-2 after forty, on a Finnish power play goal from Olli Palola, and two Russian goals from captain Alexander Ovechkin, and a 5-on-3 goal from Yevgeni Malkin. After two periods, Russia had outshot the Finns 30-15, but a strong performance from Pekka Rinne kept the Leijonat in the game.
The game only tilted in Russia’s favour in the third, when power-play tallies from Danis Zaripov and Viktor Tikhonov sealed the fate of the Finns, who memorably bounced Russia from the 2014 Olympics many expected Russia to win Gold in. The Big Red Machine dominated on special teams throughout the game, tallying four power play goals while only giving up one.
Russia, who won all preliminary and medal round games in the lead-up to the final, overpowered and outshot Finland 39-26. Nashville Predators netminder Pekka Rinne, later named tournament MVP, stood on his head as much as he could, but the constant penalty kills were simply too much for Finland to handle. Russia has now captured its fourth Worlds gold in the last seven years, avenging a sixth place finish in 2013.
With the win, Russia captures its 65th IHLC title, and its first since defeating Sweden to open the 2013 Channel One Cup. The defeat ends Finland’s win streak with the IHLC at two, and was the first (and 86th in history) IHLC tilt between Russia and Finland since the Channel One Cup in December, which the Leijonat won 3-2 to capture the title. Russia now increases their lead over Canada as the top-ranked men’s ILHC champion in history, and will defend the title next at the 2014 Karjala Tournament in November.
The win capped off a wild Worlds for the IHLC, which had Canada entering the tournament as champions (via their Olympic Gold Medal win in Sochi) – they dropped the title in the opening game to France, who then lost to Italy, who then lost to Denmark, before Canada won back the IHLC one week later. Canada successfully dispatched Italy, Sweden and Norway before dropping the title to Finland, who defeated the Czech Republic en route to the Gold Medal Game. This World Championship ties the all-time record for the most times the IHLC changed during the tournament, with seven changes tying the 1976 Katowice and 1999 Lillehammer World Championships. For more, check out the IHLC @ IIHF World Championships page.
01:45 – PEN – Salomäki, roughing
01:45 – PEN – Burmistrov, roughing
02:21 – PEN – Ovechkin, hooking
04:15 – PEN – Mäntylä, high sticking
09:00 – PEN – Salomäki, interference
10:45 – PP GOAL – Shirokov (Zaripov)
19:57 – GOAL – Pakarinen (Lehterä)
25:50 – PEN – Zaripov, interference
26:51 – PP GOAL – Palola (Jormakka, Lehterä)
27:34 – GOAL – Ovechkin (Shipachyov)
32:32 – PEN – Yakovlev, inteference
33:37 – PEN – Immonen, cross checking
34:18 – PEN – Kontiola, hooking
35:36 – PP2 GOAL – Malkin (Zaripov)
38:07 – PEN – Malkin, hooking
42:40 – PEN – Sallinen
44:24 – PP GOAL – Zaripov (Shirokov)
45:15 – PEN – Kutuzov, delay of game
55:26 – PEN – Lehterä, tripping
55:53 – PP GOAL – Tikhonov (Kutuzov, Kulyomin)
56:07 – PEN – Salomäki, checking from behind + misconduct
58:38 – PEN – Lehterä, interference
W: Bobrovski (24-26)
L: Rinne (34-39)
SHOTS ON GOAL
12+18+9 = 39
10+5+11 = 26
Goaltenders: Sergei Bobrovski, Andrei Vasilevski. Defence: Anton Belov, Maxim Chudinov, Denis Denisov, Alexander Kutuzov, Yevgeni Medvedev, Yegor Yakovlev, Andrei Zubarev. Forwards: Artyom Anisimov, Alexander Burmistrov, Yevgeni Dadonov, Sergei Kalinin, Nikolai Kulyomin (A), Yevgeni Kuznetsov, Yevgeni Malkin, Alexander Ovechkin (C), Sergei Plotnikov, Vadim Shipachyov, Sergei Shirokov, Viktor Tikhonov, Danis Zaripov (A).
Goaltenders: Mikko Koskinen, Pekka Rinne. Defence: Juuso Hietanen, Jere Karalahti, Tommi Kivistö, Ville Lajunen, Tuukka Mäntylä, Jyri Marttinen, Atte Ohtamaa. Forwards: Erik Haula, Tommi Huhtala, Jarkko Immonen, Olli Jokinen (C), Pekka Jormakka, Leo Komarov (A), Petri Kontiola, Jori Lehterä (A), Iiro Pakarinen, Olli Palola, Jere Sallinen, Tomi Sallinen, Miikka Salomäki.