Team Slovakia poses for a photo at the bench after winning the bronze medal. Photo Credit: IIHF

After 12 days of men’s ice hockey action at the Olympics, The Inner Sanctum wraps up all the action in the bronze and gold medal games.

After a hard and grinding 12 days of men’s ice hockey action at the Olympics, the only order of business to finish off the tournament was to award three teams with a medal and the remainder to leave empty-handed.

Bronze Medal Game: Sweden v Slovakia

After upsetting the USA in the quarter-final stage and a close loss to Finland in the semi-finals, Slovakia would find itself attempting to win its first ever Olympic medal in men’s ice hockey. For Sweden, after defeating Canada 2-0 and losing in a shootout to ROC in the semi-finals, it would find itself competing for its first Olympic medal since 2014, which was silver in Sochi.

The first period was a feeling out period to the contest, and with the stakes on the line, both sides could be forgiven for a slower sort of period.

Both sides had some good chances during the first period but neither could break the deadlock with Slovakia putting up 14 shots on goal to Sweden’s eight.

Both goalies (Patrik Rybár for Slovakia and Lars Johannson for Sweden) were perfect through the opening 20 minutes.

The only indiscretion was a tripping penalty called against Rybár 4:48 into the contest, which was served by Libor Hudáček (in ice hockey, if the goalie is given a minor or major penalty, it is served by another player and the goalie gets to stay on the ice).

Juraj Slafkovský would break the deadlock at the 3:17 mark of the second period to give Slovakia its first goal of the contest that shocked everyone and it must be seen to be believed.


Mid-way through the period, Slovakia would get two opportunities to extend the lead on the power play. Anton Lander would head to the box for Sweden 8:45 into the period, which Sweden would successfully kill off.

Nine seconds after Lander excited the box, Dennis Everberg would head to the box, and this time, Slovakia would take full advantage, with Samuel Takáč bouncing the puck in off the pads of Johannson to give Slovakia a two-goal lead, which it would maintain leading into the break.


Sweden’s attempt to try and get back into the game took a hurdle very early on in the third period, as Daniel Brodin would head to the box for roughing in a very needless penalty.

After successfully killing off that penalty, Sweden was rarely able to gather consistent momentum, icing the puck at inopportune times after missing passes and having trouble getting clean breaks through the neutral zone into the attacking zone.

A lot of credit to that must go to Slovakia, who were very good at taking away the centre of the ice and putting a lot of pressure onto Sweden.

With 1:50 to go, Sweden would take two more cracks at trying to get back into the game, pulling Johansson for the extra skater, and it would only take 16 seconds for Slafkovský to put the game to bed after a bad turnover by Sweden in the defensive zone, scoring his second of the game (and tournament leading seventh goal) to put the game to bed.


Sweden would pull Johannsen again 14 seconds later with the same result, as Pavol Regenda would score into the empty net for a 4-0 victory in favour of Slovakia, and its first medal in Olympic men’s ice hockey.

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Gold Medal Game: Finland v ROC

After a 3-1 victory over Denmark in the quarter finals, and a very tight shootout victory over Sweden, the ROC was just 60 minutes away from back-to-back gold medals in the Olympic men’s ice hockey (it won gold in 2018 as Olympic Athletes from Russia).

For Finland, after a 5-1 victory over Sweden and the tight 2-0 victory over Slovakia, it would find itself just 60 minutes away from the countries first ever gold medal in the Olympic men’s ice hockey heading into the match.

The first period would be a good back and forth contest with Finland having over double the number of shots on goal that ROC would (15-7), but it would be ROC who would take the lead with just its third power play goal of the tournament through Mikhail Grigorenko 7:17 into the game.


Finland would get a fantastic opportunity to equalise on the back end of its lone power play opportunity of the first period as a cross-ice pass left the back post wide-open with ROC goalie Ivan Fedotov having overcommitted, but the pass just missed the stick blade on the Finland player waiting there to put it home.

With 3:28 gone in the second period, Ville Pokka would find the equaliser for Finland to make it a 1-1 game, which found the net in a similar fashion to the way the ROC’s goal did.


Despite the shot count in the second period only being 7-6 in favour of the ROC, both Fedotov and Finnish goalie Harri Säteri would have to make some key saves in the second period to keep it all tied up heading into the third period.

It would take just 31 seconds for the deadlock to be broken in the third period, as Hannes Björninen would score for Finland to put it one step closer to its first ever Olympic men’s ice hockey gold medal.


The ROC, much like Sweden in the bronze medal game, would be unable to get any sort of momentum going, only managing three shots on goal for the entire third period, and it would prove costly.

With 55 seconds to go, Fedotov would head to the bench for the extra attacker but would be unable to find the equalising goal as time would run out for the ROC and Finland would take home the gold.

The shots on goal count would end 31-17 in favour of Finland with 10 of those coming in third period as it looked to extend its lead and put the game to bed well before the final horn.


There was a common theme amongst all three goals in this game, and that was that they all came off plays where there was heavy traffic in front of the goalies.

The first goal came just as Säteri got sight of the puck back but was unable to do anything about it.

The second goal as close to a perfect screen play as you will see as Fedotov was unable to see the puck off the shot from Pokka with two players in his line of sight.

The third would come from the top of the slot through a ton of traffic in front of Fedotov and it would find its way into the back of the net.  

Finland finishes up with a tournament leading 22 goals from 176 shots (12.50 per cent) and also tournament leading goaltending, conceding just eight goals from 162 shots on goal faced (95.06 per cent).

Finland poses for a team photo with the gold medals. Photo Credit: Leijonat/Twitter

In terms of special teams, it had the fifth best power play (four for 16, 25.00 per cent) and the worst penalty kill (conceding six from 16 times short handed, 62.50 per cent success rate).

Two players from Finland would find their way into the named all-star team, with defender Mikko Lehtonen and forward Sakari Manninen being named.

They would be joined by ROC defender Yegor Yakovlev, and forwards Lucas Wallmark (Sweden) and Juraj Slafkovský (Slovakia) who would also be named MVP of the tournament.

The all-star goalie named was Slovakia’s Patrik Rybár.

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