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Finns grab gold in dramatic shootout against Russia in men’s ice hockey final

25/01/2012

Goalkeeper Kaapo Kahkonen guessed right twice to help Finland to a 2-1 shootout victory over Russia in an enthralling men's ice hockey gold medal game at the Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games on Sunday.

"They (the Russians) are not like the Canadians, who like to shoot," Kaapo said. "They like to deke [fake]."

The Russians were 62 seconds away from the Innsbruck 2012 title when Finland's Waltteri Hopponen tied the game at 1-1, with Kaapo on the bench to give the Finns an extra skater.

The game went to overtime and when the tie was not broken, the championship match went to a shootout.

Manu Honkanen on Finland was up first and he snapped a 10-foot wrist shot past Russian goalkeeper Sergey Korobov.

Russia´s Maxim Lazarev followed and his deke on the stick side failed to fool Kaapo, giving Finland the advantage after the first round of shooters.

The impressive Kasperi Kapanen followed with a wrist shot that gave Finland a two-goal lead.

Russia called on captain Ivan Nikolishin but he too tried to deke the goalkeeper and again Kaapo made the save, and this time it clinched the Youth Olympic Games Gold for Finland.

"It's probably the best game I have ever played," Kaapo said.

The Gold medal game was played at breath-taking pace. One minute the Russians were on the attack and a second later they were scrambling back to defend. And there were plenty of bone-crushing hits.

The Finns kept pressing for the equaliser, and Kasperi insisted he never gave up hope, despite trailing going into the last two minutes.

"I have faith in these guys," he said.

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