Finland beats Russia in overtime without actually scoring winning goal

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A tough way to lose for the Russians.
A tough way to lose for the Russians.

There are few things more exciting — and more nerve-racking — in pro sports than 3-on-3 overtime in hockey. Fans hold their breath when their team gets a scoring chance, and put their hands together in prayer when an opponent is on a breakaway.

But what are we meant to feel when a game is won in overtime, and players flood the ice to celebrate, despite no actual goal being scored?

In Sunday’s Channel One Cup final between Finland and Russia, Finnish forward Sakari Manninen scored the overtime game-winning goal — without actually putting the puck in the net!

As the teams were tied 4-4 with under a minute remaining in the overtime period and the puck hemmed in the Finnish zone, Team Russia decided to pull its goalie and go for the winning tally, a tactic made popular earlier this year by KHL coach Sergei Fedorov.

But Manninen was able to force the puck out of his own end, and began barreling toward the empty Russian goal. A desperate Vyacheslav Voynov dove to break up the play, knocking the puck away but taking his opponent down in the process.

The nearby referee blew the play dead and pointed to the net, awarding a goal — and the win — to Finland.

The call was made according to IIHF Rule 25, which stipulates that:

“a goal will be awarded to the attacking Team when the opposing Team has taken their Goalkeeper off the ice and an attacking Player has “possession and control of the puck” (or “would have gained possession and control”) in the Neutral or Attacking Zone, without a defending Player between themself and the opposing goal, and they are “prevented from scoring” as a result of an infraction committed by the defending Team.”

With the win, Finland secured its first Channel One Cup title since 2009. The tournament, held in Russia, is part of the Euro Hockey Tour, an event that pits Finland, Russia, Sweden and the Czech Republic against each other in a series of mini-tournaments.

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