In a highly dramatic semi-final of the 2022 Olympic Games, the ROC men's ice hockey team outlasted Sweden, emerging victorious by a score of 2:1 following a tense penalty shootout.
Anton Slepyshev showed power and determination to open the scoring a mere 15 seconds into the second period, speeding to the crease from the left flank and calmly knocking the puck beyond SKA goaltender Lars Johansson.
However, Sweden found their equaliser in the 47th minute, as the unmarked Anton Lander pounced on a big rebound on the doorstep to expertly tap the puck into the left corner.
3-on-3 overtime was required in a thoroughly even battle. In the ensuing 10-minute extra frame, the Swedes were presented with the most realistic scoring chances, with Ivan Fedotov pulling off a handful of difficult stops and Vladimir Tkachyov saving the day with a fantastic block after the goaltender had been caught out of position.
Penalties were indeed needed to settle a pulsating, high quality duel. Yegor Yakovlev kept the game alive in the fifth round, beating Johansson after the goal scored by SKA forward Nikita Gusev had been cancelled out by two Swedish markers from Lucas Wallmark and Joakim Nordstrom.
20-year-old forward Arseniy Gritsyuk was the eventful hero for ROC. In sudden death, after Max Friberg had failed to score with his attempt, Gritsyuk got the better of Johansson with a snappy wrister to secure ROC's progression in memorable style.
ROC will now prepare to take on Finland in the grand final on Sunday morning. Puck-drop is scheduled for 07:10 Moscow time.
ROC - Sweden - 2:1 SO (0:0, 1:0, 0:1, 0:0 - 1:0)
1:0 Slepyshev (Karnaukhov, Yakovlev), 20.15
1:1 Lander (Tommernes, Pudas), 46.22
2:1 Gritsyuk, 65.00 PS
Goalkeepers: Fedotov - Johansson
Shots on target: 40 - 35
Faceoffs: 30 - 29
Penalty minutes: 4 - 4