On Friday, "Finland" briefly became an epithet around the sports world. Everyone pointed to the six goals they surrendered in the first period of their semifinal matchup with the Americans, and suddenly, to be a part of "Team Finland" meant hapless incompetence.
Saturday night, though, the Finnish national team saved face. Entering the third period with a 3-1 deficit, the Fins rallied in a big way, scoring 4 goals (one on an empty net) to down the feisty Slovakia team that had previously upset Russia and just the night before, had taken the Canadians to the brink.
But after a goal brought the Fins within one and made things interesting, Olli Jokinen scored to tie it at three, and then chipped in the go-ahead goal with about 13:00 minutes to play. From there, Finland hung on and withstood a furious charge from Slovakia over the final minutes.
For FInland, it was an impressive performance, and a heartwarming consolation after their disastrous showing the previous day. For Slovakia, a crushing collapse after their surprise run throughout the past two weeks. But for fans, it was a great game, and hopefully a sign of things to come tomorrow, in the gold medal game between the United States and Canada.