Finland vs Russia
by RYAN YESSIE
Monday November 3, 2014
With several local schools around Lambton County attending this international match-up between Finland and Russia the RBC was very loud and for at least one team, seemed to pump them up as Finland absolutely dominated Russia in the first period. Aside from a penalty kill and the final few seconds of the period Finland was in charge and lead the shot clock 14-5 as Russia have up nearly as many shots in one period today, than the whole 60 minutes last night. Finland would score twice in the first period. The first, a great pass by Aapeli Rasanen setting up Otto Somppi. Then a quick snap shot from Markus Niemelainen would give Finland a 2-0 lead going into the first intermission.
In the second period Russia got off to a much better start but Finland goaltender Leevo Laakso made several good saves. Russia would then get into penalty trouble where Finland was able to capitalize on the momentum shift as Somppi would slip a shot from the slot past Russian goaltender Maxim Kalyayev for his second goal of the game. Not long after that, Tarmo Reunanen would send a shot from the point which was deflected in.
Just inside the midway point of the game Russia changed their goaltenders as Kalyayev's night would end and last nights winning goaltender Vladislav Sukhachyov would take over. Russia was able to shut down the Finnish offense the rest of the period and trail by the score of 4-0 at the end of the second period.
Entering the third period with a big lead, Team Finland carried what seemed to be an insurmountable lead and continued adding insult to injury by embellishing calls and gained a few early power plays where Sukhachyov came up huge for his Russian team. Just before the midway point of the third period Mikhail Sergachykov roofed a great shot blocker side which at the time didn't seem like much except the end of the shutout for Laakso. However when Nikita A. Popugayev scored to make it 4-2 Finland the mood started to change in the building.
The majority of the thousands of students started chanting in favour of Russia and the energy was back in the building, much to the benefit of the Russian players. With just two minutes remaining Nikita A. Popugayev would bang home a loose puck bringing the deficit to one. Then in the final seconds Dmitry Sokolov received an excellent pass and fired it home to tie the game at 4-4 with only 1.0 left on the clock. Both teams got their chances in the five minute four on four overtime period but neither could score sending this game to a shootout.
In the shootout both shooters missed their first shot then Sukhachyov made a risky poke check to keep the score at 0's. Laakso made an important save keeping it scoreless after two, then after one more round of stops by the goaltenders, the teams flipped shooting order with Russia sending out Popugayev again, and once again he was stopped. Aapeli Rasanen walked in with the chance to win and made no mistake firing a wrister past the Russian goaltender to give Finland a 5-4 shootout victory over Russia, after having their 4-0 lead erased.
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