VANCOUVER — Team Finland did something Saturday it couldn’t manage the day before.
It showed up.
Finland bounced back from one of its most humbling defeats to beat Team Slovakia 5-3, winning the men’s hockey bronze medal in a disjointed but entertaining game.
Down 3-1 in the third, Finland scored four unanswered goals, including one on a Kimmo Timonen point shot and two others scored in a span of two minutes by Olli Jokinen.
On his second, Jokinen showed a burst of speed, slicing through the Slovak defence. All alone in front of the net, he slid a backhand through Jaroslav Halak’s pads.
Finland looked both energized and committed Saturday.
Recovered from their 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Team USA on Friday, the Finns swarmed the puck and the Slovaks, outshooting them 12-5 in the first period and taking a 1-0 lead on a Sami Salo power-play goal with 1:10 left in the frame.
But on a second-period power play, the Slovaks got back into the game. After a screened Miikka Kiprusoff fought through traffic to make a good save off a Zdeno Chara blast, Slovakia managed to control the rebound. Chara faked another shot, then worked the puck to Pavol Demitra who, with a pretty saucer pass, found his old friend and former teammate Marian Gaborik in the slot. Gaborik took his time before wiring a wrist shot over top of Kiprusoff’s right shoulder. Demitra thrust his fist in the air.
It was just the start for Demitra, who had a terrific game. Less than seven minutes later, and on another power play, he set up Marian Hossa for a goal and Slovakia had a 2-1 lead.
The Finns appeared poised to get it back when Slovakian forward Branko Radivojevic took a double minor penalty for high-sticking.
It was the Slovaks, however, who took advantage. After a takeaway, Hossa and Demitra were off on a short-handed two-on-one rush. Hossa slid the puck cross-crease to Demitra, who snapped it by Kiprusoff.
It was Demitra’s third point of the game. It gave him 10 for the Olympics, more than any other player in the men’s tournament.
Down two goals in the third, Finland wormed its way back into the game on a bit of a fluke. Timonen’s point shot appeared to hit at least two bodies before going in the net.
Valtteri Filppula added an empty-netter to seal the third-place finish.
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