Russian coach says Finland deserved victory in ice hockey semifinals

The head coach of Russia’s national ice hockey team, Vyacheslav Bykov, said the Finnish team deserved the victory in its clash with Russia at the IIHF World Championship semifinal.

Russia, given high odds to win by bookmakers all around the world, was eliminated 0-3 by Finland in semifinal on Friday.

“Undoubtedly, we were exhausted – both psychologically and physically – after the game against Canada. But I don’t like to make excuses. We were in equal conditions. The Finnish team played better and deserved the victory. It’s sad that we couldn’t show even 50% of what our guys are able to do,” Bykov said.

Finland’s Mikael Granlund made a spectacular 1-0 goal in the second period (26th minute of the game), which many describe as the goal of the year. Jani Lajunen scored in the third period (48), followed by Jarkko Immonen (50) just about two minutes later.

“We did well in the first period. We had some good opportunities to score when we were 1-0 down, but the puck just didn’t go into the net,” the Russian coach said.

Russian hockey star Alexander Ovechkin also praised the opponents.

“The first goal by the Finns is, of course… one of the best ever goals in hockey. They had everything – skill and luck. We were just unlucky, we had good moments, but failed to score,” he said.

The Finns, who also defeated Russia 2-3 in the group stage on Monday, will face Sweden in the finals for the first time since 1998. Sweden won gold in 1992 and 1998, while Finland defeated Sweden at home in 1995 to claim its only Worlds gold.

On Sunday, Russia will clash for bronze with Czech Republic, the defending champions who lost 5-2 to Sweden earlier on Friday.

BRATISLAVA, May 14 (RIA Novosti)

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