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Russian Olympic Committee Tops Sweden to Earn Men's Hockey Final Berth

The Russian Olympic Committee has advanced to the men's Olympic hockey final after beating Sweden 2-1 in the shootout on Friday.
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The Russian Olympic Committee has advanced to the men's Olympic hockey final after beating Sweden 2-1 in the shootout on Friday.

It's the second consecutive gold medal appearance for the Russians, who, under the Olympic Athletes of Russia banner, beat Germany for the title in South Korea in 2018. 

Since breaking off from the Soviet Union, Russia, or teams affiliated with it, have won two other medals - a silver in 1998 and a bronze in 2002. Russia's last gold at an IIHF men's level under the "Russia" banner was at the 2014 World Championship in Minsk following a dominant 10-0 record.

Sweden will look for its first medal since taking silver in Sochi eight years ago. Sweden's last bronze was in 1988 following a three-tournament run as the third-best team.

It was a similar game to Finland's 1-0 shutout over Slovakia earlier in the day, with neither team taking many risks in a defensive-minded game. The lone goal came just 15 seconds into the middle stanza when Anton Slepyshev broke in off of a Pavel Karnaukhov rush and beat Lars Johansson on his own rebound.

The lead lasted until 46:22 when Sweden's No. 58, Anton Lander, tied it up. Lander picked up a rebound from a shot from the blueline and beat 6-foot-8 goaltender Ivan Fedotov to tie the game up and bring the pulse of the game up a bit.

The rest of the game was next-goal-wins territory, but nobody could tally another goal in regulation. The shootout was spectacular, with both teams getting multiple goals before Arseni Gritsyuk scored the game-winner on Russia's eighth shot to win the game and help the team advance to the final.

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