The trail of blood on the ice from Anssi Salmela’s broken nose after the final horn sounded told the story.
Finland remained unbeaten with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over the United States last night at the Metro Centre in the nastiest game yet at the world hockey championship.
The teams combined for 202 penalty minutes, including three match penalties, a butt-ending major and double-minors for checks to the head and leaving the penalty box.
“I liked it,” Finnish coach Doug Shedden said afterward. “There was some blood, some battles, guys are pissed off, and I like that. It’s good.”
Shedden added that Salmela’s nose — broken in a game-ending fight with David Backes — is “on the other side of his face” but that “he needed to get ugly.”
Salmela and Backes earn automatic one-game suspensions, as does Finnish star Olli Jokinen for a first-period check from behind. Additional discipline could follow.
The rough stuff overshadowed a strong effort from Finland, as it battled back from 2-0 deficit in the third period.
Finnish blue-liner Ville Koistinen turned the tide with a 5-on-3 goal just 2:12 into the third. Anaheim Ducks star Teemu Selanne tied it at 10:44 and Minnesota Wild forward Mikko Koivu slammed home the winner with 3:50 left.
U.S. head coach John Tortorella said his team “didn’t deserve to win that hockey game,” but didn’t let Russian referees Vyacheslav Bulanov and Alexander Poliakov off the hook, either.
“I’ve heard about these horror shows,” he said of international officiating, “now, I’ve finally lived through one.”
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