Finland wins first Olympic men's hockey gold, beating Russians

Finland players celebrate after defeating Russian Olympic Committee in the men's gold medal hockey game at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022, in Beijing. (Matt Slocum/AP Photo)

Finland has captured its first gold medal in men's hockey at the Olympics.

The Finns upset the defending champion Russians 2-1 in the gold-medal game on Sunday at the Beijing Games.

Finland went 6-0 at the tournament -- the second straight Olympics in which NHLers did not play.

Finland's Hannes Bjorinen broke a 1-1 tie 31 seconds into the third.

Ville Pokka also scored for Finland, while Mikhail Grigorenko scored for the Russians.

Finland's best previous result in the Olympics was a silver medal, which it had earned twice. The first time came in 1998 in a losing effort to a Soviet Union team featuring Vyacheslav Fetisov and Igor Larionov. The next time was in 2006, when Mats Sundin, Nicklas Lidstrom, Daniel Alfredsson and the Swedes defeated Teemu Selanne and the Finns in Turin.

Finland has been making gains in international hockey recently. It won silver at the 2021 World Championship and gold in 2019. At the world junior level, there was bronze in 2021 and gold in 2019.

Slovakia won the Olympic bronze for its first Winter Games men's hockey medal, beating Sweden a day earlier.

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