Five unanswered goals pace Finland over Russia

Nina Tikkinen scored two goals and Michelle Karvinen added two assists as Finland rolled over Russia 5-1 in Olympic women’s hockey action Sunday night at the UBC Thunderbird Arena.

Marjo Voutilainen scored the game-winning goal for the Finnish (1-0-0-0) as her shot from the slot deflected off a Russian defender and bounced between goaltender Irina Gashennikova’s legs and into the net.

Saija Sirvio and Venla Heikkila also scored for Finland who is looking to find the Olympic podium in women’s hockey for the first time since 1998, after losing both the 2006 and 2002 bronze medal games.

Russia (0-1-0-0) opened the scoring on the power play less than seven minutes into the game as Aleksandra Vafina forced the puck through a crowd of defenders and just out of reach of Finnish goaltender, second-time Olympian, Noora Raty.

Raty stopped every other puck she saw and finished the game with 13 saves.

Gashennikova was much busier than her counterpart and stopped 29 of the 34 shots she faced.

Canadian referee Mary Anne Gage had her hands full throughout the contest as the teams combined for 12 minor penalties, including a kneeing call in the first period and three consecutive body checking penalties in less than six minutes in the second period.

Finland went 2-for-6 on the power play, while the Russians went 1-for-7.

This game was the first Olympic tilt between Russia and Finland since women’s ice hockey was introduced to the Winter Olympics in 1998.

The last time these two teams faced off in official international competition was at the 2007 World Championship, where Finland defeated Russia 4-0.

Finland’s next game will be Tuesday, Feb. 16. against China, while Russia’s next game will be tomorrow, Feb. 15. against Sweden.