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Russian Hockey Team Ousted by Finns at Olympics

Image: Russian Hockey Team Ousted by Finns at Olympics
Finland's Jussi Jokinen tries to score against Russian goalkeeper Sergei Bobrovski in a quarterfinals game at the Bolshoy Ice Dome during the Sochi Winter Olympics on Feb. 19.

Wednesday, 19 Feb 2014 11:17 AM

Russia’s men’s hockey team crashed out of the Sochi Olympics with a 3-1 loss to Finland, leaving them without a medal for the third straight Winter Games.

Ilya Kovalchuk scored for the Russia in the opening period before the Finns answered with three consecutive goals. The Russians have won a record-tying eight Olympic golds, including seven as the Soviet Union, with the most recent coming in Albertville in 1992.

“They played four games in five nights, and we might have a little more extra jump than them,” Finland’s Teemu Selanne told reporters. “We had to make sure they had to grind every opportunity for what they get, and I think it worked. We were not supposed to win. They had all the pressure.”

Russia’s worst finish in Olympic competition was a sixth- place showing at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. They were fourth at the 2006 Games in Turin, Italy, with the team’s last medal a bronze in 2002 in Salt Lake City.

Ted Ligety won the giant slalom, giving the U.S. its first gold in Alpine skiing in Russia.

Ligety became the first American man to win the giant slalom and the first with two Olympic gold medals in Alpine skiing. He won the super combined in 2006.

The 29-year-old was 14th fastest in his second run, but the 1.5-second first-run gap over silver medalist Steve Missillier helped give him victory. Ligety took 2 minutes, 45.29 seconds on his two attempts, 0.48 second faster than the Frenchman, whose teammate Alexis Pinturault finished third.

“Sometimes my best or fastest run doesn’t feel like that,” Ligety, who won a gold medal in the combined event in 2006 in Torino, told reporters after his first run. “Today I actually felt at times that I was going a little too cautiously, but I managed to get a nice buffer.”

Ligety’s teammate Bode Miller, who took silver in the event in 2002, finished outside the top 10.

The only other American athlete with two gold medals is skiing is Andrea Mead-Lawrence, who won the women’s slalom and giant slalom in 1952.

The victory comes after a disappointing start for Ligety in Russia. He finished 8th in the super combined slalom and 14th in the super giant slalom.

His gold medal in combined at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin was the first for a U.S. skier in combined and made him the youngest American male to win a gold medal in any Alpine skiing event at the Olympic Winter Games. Last year, he became the first athlete since 1968 to win three gold medals at the same world championships.

Missillier, the silver medalist, got his first Olympic medal. The only other time he’s finished in the top three at a major competition was a third place in a slalom world cup race in 2010. Pinturault’s bronze is also his first at a games.

It’s the first time France has had two spots on the podium in the same event since the country’s athletes took the top two spots in the men’s slalom in 2002.

Miller, the oldest Alpine skiing medalist at 36, may bow out of the games after aggravating a knee injury. He said today he probably won’t race again in Sochi.

“It looks like it” will be his final Olympic race, Miller said after his second run. “We’ll make a final call but after the first run I was leaning towards it pretty heavy, it’s pretty aggressive on my body.”

Temperatures dipped below freezing last night and it’s been colder than earlier in the week. It was 2 degrees Celsius (36 Fahrenheit) when the men’s ski race began this morning, with temperatures rising to 5 degrees in the middle of the afternoon.

It wasn’t all bad news for the Russians, as married couple Vic Wild and Alena Zavarzina both won medals in the men’s and women’s snowboard parallel giant slalom events today.

The host nation also got a silver in men’s sprint class cross-country leaving it atop the medals standings with 22. The Americans have 21, one ahead of the Dutch. Norway has 19.

Wild, a U.S. native who became Russian in 2012 when he married Zavarzina, won Olympic gold and his wife took the bronze medal.

Nevin Galmarini of Switzerland won silver in the men’s event and Zan Kosir of Slovenia took the bronze.

In the women’s event, Patrizia Kummer of Switzerland captured the gold medal and the silver went to Japan’s Tomoka Takeuchi.

Finland and Norway won gold in the men’s and women’s team sprint classic cross-country events as Scandinavian countries took five of the six medals.

Finland won the men’s race, followed by Russia and Sweden. Norway captured first place in the women’s race, with Finland taking the silver medal and Sweden the bronze.

In ice hockey, Swedish goalie Henrik Lundqvist stopped 19 shots for his second shutout of the Winter Olympics, leading his country into the semifinals with a 5-0 win today against Slovenia.

There are two more quarterfinal games scheduled for today with Canada facing Latvia and the U.S. against the Czech Republic. The semifinals are set for Feb. 21, with the final two days later on the closing day of the Winter Games.

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Russia’s men’s hockey team crashed out of the Sochi Olympics with a 3-1 loss to Finland, leaving them without a medal for the third straight Winter Games.
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2014-17-19
Wednesday, 19 Feb 2014 11:17 AM
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