For a second consecutive Winter Olympics, the Russian men’s hockey team will leave the games without a medal.
Russia fell to Finland 3-1 on Wednesday in the quarterfinals, bringing to an end an incredibly underwhelming 2014 Olympic hockey tournament for the host nation.
Russian coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov made the curious decision to start goaltender Semyon Varlamov against the Finns over defending Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky, and it came back to bite him. Varlamov surrendered three goals on 15 shots before Bobrovsky replaced him in the second period.
Finland actually trailed early after Ilya Kovalchuk opened the scoring at the 7:51 mark of the first period, but Juhamatti Aaltonen netted the equalizer less than two minutes later. Finnish captain Teemu Selanne — competing in his sixth and final Olympics — scored what proved to be the game-winner later in the period, and Mikael Granlund added an insurance goal on the power play early in the second.
Tuukka Rask was stellar in net for Finland, turning away 37 shots and holding the vaunted Russian offense scoreless for the final 52 minutes.
Finland now advances to the semifinals for the third consecutive time to face top-seeded Sweden, which shut out Slovenia 5-0 on Tuesday.
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