Sweden to men’s hockey medal final with win vs. Finland

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Sweden is headed to its Olympic gold medal final since 2006 thanks to Friday’s 3-1 win over Finland at the Bolshoy Ice Dome.

In a methodical, defensive affair, the Swedes received goals from Loui Eriksson and Erik Karlsson — Karlsson’s now tied with Phil Kessel for the tournament scoring lead — while Henrik Lundqvist stopped 25 of 26 shots for the win.

The Swedish goals came after Finland opened the scoring 6:17 into the second period, when Olli Jokinen squeaked one past Lundqvist from a bad angle.

Overall, the game had an odd feel to it. Finland defeated the host Russians to get into the semifinal matchup, and that may have contributed to a quiet, less-than-capacity crowd at the Bolshoy. That said, the Finns and Swedes still engaged in a feisty affair born from geography and a long history of high-stakes international competition (Sweden bested Finland in the gold medal final at the Turin Games in ’06.)

Finland had trouble utilizing its speed throughout Friday’s game and will no doubt rue its missed opportunities, especially on the power play. The Finns went 0-for-5 on the day, which was a tournament-long issue — they only scored three power play goals in Sochi, and two of those came in a tournament-opening 8-4 rout over Austria.

Sweden, meanwhile, continued its theme of finding ways to win.

Though the team hasn’t been dominant in any of its victories — the 5-0 win over Slovenia in the quarters was deceiving, as the Sweden only led 1-0 going into the third — it has continually got the job done and remains the only Olympic squad to have won all its games in regulation.