Jeers as Russia’s ice hockey stars crash out
Agence France-Presse in Sochi
Russia crashed out of the Olympic Games ice hockey tournament on Wednesday, slumping to a 3-1 defeat to Finland in a pitiful quarter-final performance which prompted jeers from their shell-shocked fans.
Despite taking the lead, Russia were rocked by a Finnish side which had also humiliated them 4-0 the last time they met in the Olympics at Turin in 2006.
“It sucks. There is no more I can say,” admitted Russia’s most high-profile star Alex Ovechkin, one of the faces of the Sochi Games, after his country’s second successive Olympic quarter-final exit.
“We had a good start, scored a goal. But two mistakes cost us the game. We try to score another one, but all we can try is to score more goals. I have no more emotions.”
Russian TV didn’t hold back in its immediate post-match hyperbole.
“Dear friends, life has not come to an end. But this is a severe and annoying defeat,” said the commentator on state television Channel One.
“We are all crying and we are crying with you too. We are hoping for revenge. Maybe one day there will be revenge. But maybe not with this team.”
Teemu Selanne and Juhamatti Aaltonen scored consecutive first-period goals for Finland, taking advantage of two slow-footed Russian defencemen to erase a one goal Russian lead and make it 2-1 for Finland.
Mikael Granlund, who added the third, said Finland were worthy winners as they looked ahead to a Friday semi-final against Sweden.
“They had the first goal, but we bounced back really good, and throughout the game we defended well and didn’t give them much. We made it tough on them,” he said.
Ilya Kovalchuk scored the lone goal for Russia who were also ousted in the quarters when they were clobbered by eventual champions Canada 7-3 four years ago in Vancouver.