Face-off: 2310 ET, 19/02/2022
Arena: Beijing National Indoor Stadium
ROC began the men’s Winter Olympics hockey tournament as the team to beat but second favourites Finland have impressed us more in Beijing.
After picking up two silvers and four bronze medals at the last nine Games, it could just be time for them to claim that elusive first gold.
We’re taking 1.87 for the Nordic country to be crowned champions in our Finland vs ROC predictions.
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Prior to finishing sixth in South Korea, Finland had made the podium at six of the previous eight Games.
Gold and silver at the last two World Championships also highlights their strength in depth.
Jukka Jalonen went for experience in China, with 15 players aged 30 or over and the youngest being 26.
That looked a shrewd decision as Finland fought back from 3-0 down to beat Sweden 4-3 in overtime to top Group C.
Switzerland were then thrashed 5-1 in the quarter-finals and Slovakia seen off 2-0 in the semis.
Sakari Manninen and Teemu Hartikainen are the tournament’s top points scorers with seven apiece, alongside Adam Tambellini of Canada.
Goalie Harri Sateri also has the best save percentage, so everything is in place for a shot at the title.
Looking at the 1.85 for Manninen to score at least one point.
He led the way in their 2019 IIHF World Championship triumph and has shone in the latter stages here.
Russian Olympic Committee Odds
Seven players who won gold in PyeongChang four years ago returned for the defending champions and the ROC remain in the hunt for a repeat success.
Russia began with a 1-0 win over Switzerland and then beat Denmark 2-0, but were edged out 6-5 in overtime by the Czech Republic.
Denmark were duly dismissed again in the quarter-finals, 3-1 this time, but Sweden provided strong resistance in the semis.
Their clash finished 1-1 before 20-year-old forward Arseni Gritsyuk eventually settled a tense shootout.
The ROC were grateful for a strong display from Ivan Fedotov between the posts, though.
Defenceman Nikita Nesterov said: “I wouldn’t say we are just a defensive team. We play aggressive but we need to score more.
“Every game we’ve played better and we hope our best game will be the final.”
However, Sweden did look the better team for long periods and we’re happy to take the Russians on here.
Let’s take a chance on the Finns to win by one goal in regular time at 6.25 to complete our Finland vs ROC betting tips.
FINLAND 2-0 Slovakia
ROC 2-1 Sweden (SO)