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Russia had hoped to end an Olympic men’s hockey medal drought in front of its home crowd in Sochi, but its dreams were crushed this morning by Finland. The team lost to Finland 3-1.
Teemu Selanne and goalie Tuuka Rask lead Finland to victory, keeping Russia’s embarrassing hockey drought alive. The team hasn’t medaled in three straight Olympics and hasn’t won a gold in 22 years, notes The Hollywood Reporter.
“Inside I am absolutely empty,” Russian captain Pavel Datsyuk told the media after the game, notes Reuters. “The emotion we feel right now is disappointment, disappointment that we didn't live up to the hopes placed on us.”
The team was a favorite in the 12-team tournament, as it had a roster full of superstars, like NHL MVP Alex Ovechkin. But it just couldn’t reach the high expectations of President Vladimir Putin and the home crowd.
Meanwhile, Finland, which won bronze in Vancouver four years ago, had none of that pressure. “We had nothing to lose. We were not supposed to win. They had all the pressure,” Selanne said. “I think they were out of gas a little bit, and we tried to take advantage of that, and the game plan worked.”
Finland will play Sweden in the semifinals Friday. The U.S. team plays the Czech Republic today.