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Russia crash, Canada set-up USA semi-final clash
AFP Russia crash, Canada set-up USA semi-final clash

Sochi (Russia) (AFP) - Russia crashed out of the Olympic Games hockey tournament Wednesday, slumping to a 3-1 defeat to Finland in a dismal quarter-final performance that prompted jeers from their shell-shocked fans.

Despite taking the lead, Russia were rocked by a Finnish side that had also humiliated them 4-0 the last time they met in the Olympics at Turin in 2006.

"It sucks. There is no more I can say," admitted Russia's highest profile star Alex Ovechkin, one of the faces of the Sochi Games, after his country's second successive Olympic quarter-final exit.

"We had a good start, scored a goal. But two mistakes cost us the game. We try to score another one, but all we can try is to score more goals. I have no more emotions."

Head coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov said: "I didn't expect things to turn out this way."

Finland advances to the semi-finals where they will face Sweden who rolled over Slovenia 5-0.

The USA easily beat the Czechs 5-2 in their quarter-final and will face defending champions Canada who survived a scare before easing past Latvia 2-1 on a late goal in the third.

Olympic all-time scoring leader Teemu Selanne and Juhamatti Aaltonen scored consecutive first period goals for Finland, taking advantage of two slow-footed Russian defencemen to erase a one-goal Russian lead.

Mikael Granlund, who added the third, said Finland were worthy winners.

"They had the first goal, but we bounced back really good, and throughout the game we defended well and didn't give them much. We made it tough on them," he said.

"We stick together, we play together. We know what we're doing, and we defend each other and that's how we can succeed and will succeed. I think we deserved to win."

- Failed to provide much offence -

Ilya Kovalchuk scored the lone goal for Russia, who were also ousted in the quarters when they were clobbered by eventual champions Canada 7-3 four years ago in Vancouver.

"The pressure was all on the Russian side," said Selanne. "They played four games in five nights and we tried to use that to our advantage. So this is a big thing for us."

After Kovalchuk opened the scoring, Aaltonen scored on a great individual effort halfway through the period to tie the score 1-1.

He stickhandled past Russian defenceman Nikita Nikitin and took a shot that squeezed between netminder Semyon Varlamov's arm and body.

Selanne then scored from in close to make it 2-1 late in the first period.

Granlund outraced Russian defenceman Vyacheslav Voinov for a loose puck in the neutral zone and drove to the net before passing to the middle to Selanne who beat Varlamov through the legs with 2:22 left in the first.

Granlund scored a power play goal 5:37 into the second to make it 3-1. Selanne took the shot in the slot and Granlund got the rebound and banged it home.

The 43-year-old Selanne, who is playing in his sixth and final Olympics, is the all-time scoring leader in the Winter Games. Earlier in this tournament he became the oldest male player to score a goal in the Olympics.

"It is hard to believe that now we can compete against the best Russian players in the world," said Selanne. "I am very proud of our hockey."

Henrik Lundqvist stopped 19 shots for his second shutout of the tournament as Sweden beat Slovenia.

Sweden led by just one goal at the end of the second but then broke the game open in the third as Daniel Sedin, Loui Eriksson and Carl Hagelin, with two, scored in front of a crowd of 7,325 at the Bolshoi Ice Dome.

Defenceman Shea Weber blasted a one-timer at 13:06 of the third on the power play to lift Canada past Latvia.

James Van Riemsdyk, Dustin Brown, Phil Kessel, David Backes and Zach Parise scored as the Americans rolled over the Czechs 5-2 to reach the semis.