Sunday, February 28, 2010

Jokinen shaves “stash”, scores twice, wins “Chumpionship”

The Bronze Medal game turned out to be a late night nail-biter as Finland scored 4 times in the third to overcome Slovakia's 3-1 lead and win 5-3 last night in Vancouver.

The first period was scoreless until a power play goal by Sami Salo with 70 seconds left gave the Finns a 1-0 lead.

But instead of letting that goal demoralize them – the Slovaks scored three times in the second period – led by a power play goal by the Ranger's Marian Gaborik that tied the game at one. It was a typical Gabby Goal – a sneaky fast shot that seemed to come out of nowhere – with no windup to give the goalie Miikka Kiprusoff time to get set.

And the Slovaks took their 3-1 lead into the third period – just 20 minutes from an unlikely Bronze medal. But it was not to be.
At 5:06 Niklas Hagman, again on the powerplay, made the score 3-2.

And then Ranger Olli Jokinen took the game over. Appearing – incredibly - without his signature facial hair – the clean-shaven Finnish forward struck twice in a two minute span. When the ice chips had cleared, Olli had turned a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 lead and the Finland team was on their way. And empty netter rounded out the scoring.

So it may be the consolation game (or the Chumpionship as my son calls it) but it was a great game and an Olympic medal game besides. It's a shame for the Slovaks – but a great come back for the Finns. And a nice day for Ranger fans – who get a suddenly hot Jokinen and Gaborik back on the team.

Was Team Slovakia so stunned by the clean shaven face of Olli Jokinen that they forgot to guard him? Was he so unrecognizable without his classic Fu Manchu mustache that the Slovak's goaltender didn't recognize him?

We'll never know.

But at 3pm today (Eastern) – find a TV and watch Callahan and Drury go for the gold as the US takes on Canada. This may be the most watched TV event in the history of Canadian Television – but of few of us in the states will be tuned in as well.

Let's go USA (and Rangers). It was bad enough watching Sidney Crosby hoist the Stanley Cup. We do not want to see him win Olympic Gold as well.

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