Erik Karlsson’s second-period goal lifted Sweden to a 2-1 win over Finland and secured them a place in the men’s ice hockey final.
The 23-year-old’s blast from the point held up as the winner in the semi-final at the Bolshoi Ice Dome.
“Our defensive play was very good,” said Karlsson, who is appearing at his first Olympics. “We felt like we controlled the neutral zone and took away their chances.”
Karlsson’s eight goals in five games have given him a share of the Sochi scoring lead with Phil Kessel of the United States, who was in action last night in the second semi-final. But his play on the defensive end of the ice has also been a big reason why Sweden will have a chance to win their first gold medal in 12 years tomorrow.
The game against Finland, a repeat of the 2006 Turin Games final, got off to a sluggish start as both sides seemed wary of committing the first mistake and falling behind in what was expected to be a tight affair.
Finland had several chances to open the scoring during a two-man advantage that lasted 95 seconds in the first period but could not beat standout Swedish goalie Henrik Lundqvist. “We had some chances, we couldn’t do it,” Finn Teemu Selanne admitted.