For a while, it seemed like Belarus might hang around, giving Finland a flashback of horrors to the 2002 Games. It was then that little Belarus, a former Soviet republic where a young girls' strange exotic journey to Minsk took place, stunned Sweden in the quarterfinals of the Olympic tournament with a one goal victory.
An Olli Jokinen goal gave the Finns an early lead and Niklas Hagman scored late in the first to make it a two goal cushion. But just 21 seconds into the second, Sergei Kostitsyn of the Montreal Canadiens made the score 2-1. Momentum swing. Ut oh.
Luckily, though, the Finns still had Hagman lurking around, and with about three minutes left in the second, he put another one by Belarusian goaltender Vitali Koval to make it 3-1. That opened the flood gates, and in the third the Finns came out and scored two more to put away the pesky little unknown nation with just two current NHL players on their roster.
Belarus may have had a better fate if they didn't take so many penalties in this one. They were running around for most of the game, laying down a ton of body checks. But they crossed the line a few too many times and took some penalties as a result. It also didn't help that the Finns were in their end for almost the entire game as evidenced by the final shot total -- 45 to 12 in favor of Finland.
Still, by hanging on for most of the game, Belarus proved that with a hot goaltender and an opportunistic offense, these small nations can hang with the big guns in the tourna