SOCHI, RUSSIA – The Russians, hoping to earn a gold medal before their home fans, had their hopes dashed Wednesday when they were eliminated from the Olympic hockey tournament with a 3-1 quarterfinal loss to Finland.
“Inside, I’m absolutely empty,” said Russian captain Pavel Datsyuk, who along with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin was unexpectedly ineffective in the tournament.
Wild center Mikael Granlund set up Teemu Selanne for a goal, then scored himself, and Tuukka Rask made 37 saves as Finland advanced to play Sweden in Friday’s semifinals.
Despite its roster of high-priced offensive stars, Russia couldn’t score in the final 52 minutes after Ilya Kovalchuk’s early power-play goal.
“To be honest, I’m a little bit sad, also, for them,” said Selanne, a six-time Olympian. “Obviously, they had a big dream to win the gold medal here, and then it doesn’t work, so it’s kind of disappointing in many ways, because that would be a great story. But again, it’s proving to the hockey world that you never know.”
Semyon Varlamov allowed all three goals on 15 shots against the Finns before getting pulled for Sergei Bobrovsky during the second period.
Canada 2, Latvia 1: Shea Weber scored a tiebreaking power-play goal with 6:54 to play as Canada survived an enormous scare to earn a semifinal spot against the U.S.
Carey Price made 15 saves for the defending Olympic champion Canadians, who were stretched to the limit by Latvia goalie Kristers Gudlevskis. The 21-year-old Tampa Bay Lightning prospect made 55 saves in a spectacular performance. But Weber unleashed his peerless slapshot late in a power play, and Canada finally took the lead on its 54th shot against Gudlevskis.
Sweden 5, Slovenia 0: Henrik Lundqvist made 19 saves for his second shutout of the Sochi Games and Carl Hagelin scored twice as Sweden advanced to play Finland in Friday’s semifinals.
Alexander Steen broke a scoreless tie 18:50 into the game.