Finland reaches quarterfinals with comeback win over Sweden

Iiro Pakarinen of Finland celebrates. - Credit: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters via USA TODAY Sports

Iiro Pakarinen of Finland celebrates. – Credit: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters via USA TODAY Sports

Finland mounted a stunning comeback to beat local rivals Sweden 4-3 in overtime in a penalty-riddled Group C battle to claim top spot and a place in the quarter-finals of the men’s Olympic ice hockey tournament.

Trailing 3-0 heading into the third period, the Finns converted on back-to-back power play chances before a sneak under Swedish netminder Magnus Hellberg‘s leg levelled it for the Sochi bronze medallists and forward Harri Pesonen clinched the victory in overtime.

“When you are losing 3-0 it’s not easy to come back, especially score three goals in a period, it’s pretty nice to win the game in overtime,” said Finnish forward Iiro Pakarinen, who recorded two of their three third-period goals.

“It’s always like that against Sweden, it’s always tight games. It’s fun to play against a rival.”

It was a stunning reversal of fortune after forward Markus Granlund was ejected from the match in the second period for elbowing a Swedish defenseman in the head as the Nordic neighbors renewed their fierce rivalry.

Tournament officials said Granlund could face additional discipline.

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