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Tuukka Rask, Finland eliminate Russia from Olympic hockey medal contention

02.19.14 at 10:11 am ET
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Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask made 37 saves as Finland ousted Russia, 3-1, on Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the Olympic hockey competition in Sochi.

The fourth-seeded Finns, who advance to play top-seeded Sweden in the semifinals, allowed an early goal but then scored twice in the first and once early in the second. They were outshot 38-22 but managed to hold on behind a solid performance from Rask.

“The first half was better, I think. We had the lead. I guess we were not expecting a two-goal lead. And then we kind of let our guard down a little bit and let them back in the game,” Rask said in a postgame interview with NBC’s Pierre McGuire. “But overall, a pretty good effort.”

Finland has been stung by some key injuries, but the team has persevered.

“That’s how it often goes,” Rask said. “You lose key guys and then you just have to battle even more. That’s been our case this tournament. It’s worked so far.”

The Finns celebrated with Rask in front of the goal after the game ended with heavy Russian pressure.

“I couldn’t yell or speak, I made that save right before [the end], so I was gassed,” Rask said. “Guys were just screaming. They were pretty happy.”

Teemu Selanne had a goal and assist for the Fins. Selanne, 43, now has 41 points in his Olympic hockey career, adding to his career-leading totals.

Selanne said this win ranks among his most memorable.

“It’s pretty high. Obviously, beating Russia in their home tournament at the Olympics, where all the best players are, it’s huge,” Selanne told McGuire. “Especially with four of our best centers out in this tournament. We don’t have that depth that some other teams have. We’re got to be very proud of it.”

Ilya Kovalchuk got the fifth-seeded Russians on the board first, scoring 7:51 into the game. Juhamatti Aaltonen tied it 1:27 later. Selanne put Finland on top with 2:22 left in the period, with Mikael Granlund getting the assist.

With 5:37 gone in the second, Granlund scored off a Selanne assist for an insurance goal that would turn out to be the game’s final tally. It also turned out to be the end of the night for Semyon Varlamov made 12 saves on 15 shots in the Russian goal. He was replaced by Sergei Bobrovsky, who stopped all seven shots he faced.

Read More: Teemu Selanne, Tuukka Rask,