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OT loss in the semi
Everyone predicted the Finland v Sweden semifinal to be an all-time classic and how right they were! We had power plays, controversial calls, insane goals, both teams taking turns to lead and it all ended dramatically in overtime as the Finnish veteran of 15 world champs Sami Markkanen one-timed the perfect storm of a clapper into the Swedish net.
As you would expect, the Finnish win over Sweden in the semifinal was a big deal for both countries. The win was, as expected, celebrated in the Finnish mainstream media with the country's biggest newspaper Iltalehti jumping at the chance to celebrate the win. Another major paper, Aamulehti, called the semifinal a "thriller" as they reported on Teemu Lepaus' hat-trick.
The game started under Finnish control with the blue and whites racing off to a 3-0 lead, but the Swedes came back within one through goals by Markus Kinisjärvi and Hampus Larsson. Eemeli Suomi restored the Finns two goal cushion soon after restart, but Jesper Kokkonen added to the Swedish tally to make it a one goal game again.
In the final period Sweden looked like they had found a new gear. Rasmus Dahlberg-Karlsson tied the game at four goals a piece and Marcus Lissäng took Sweden to a 5-4 lead. It looked like Sweden had the upper hand if it wasn't for the always dangerous Lepaus scoring again to take the game into overtime.
Two minutes into overtime, Sami Markkanen was in the right place at the right time to unleash the mother of all clappers that found the back of Robert Kinisjärvi's net to end the game in Finnish celebrations.
After the game, the IIHF honoured Robert Kinisjärvi as the best player of the game and the tournament for team Sweden. An earned honour that cannot be disputed for the best goalie in the tournament.
It was self-evident that this was the game of the tournament that meant the most for both teams. The Finnish elated celebrations and the Swedes broken hearts were more than obvious. The two neighbouring hockey giants had given their all. Whilst being the fiercest of rivals, the overarching emotion had to be mutual respect. The entire Swedish management team went to the Finnish changing room after the game to congratulate the winners and the Finns praised the Swedes talent, grit and tenacity.
Next up for Sweden is the bronze game to finish the tournament at 17:30.