Finland defeated ROC 2-1 in the men's ice hockey final ©Getty Images

Finland came from one goal down to win the men's ice hockey title for the first time in the nation's long history in the sport, beating the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) at the National Indoor Stadium, being awarded the last gold medal of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

With teams depleted due to the withdrawal of National Hockey League (NHL) players from the Games after COVID-19 postponed several games prior to Beijing 2022, usual suspects United States and Canada fell at the quarter-finals stage.

This paved the way for Sweden and Slovakia to progress to the semi-finals at their expense, while Finland thrashed Switzerland and the ROC disposed of Denmark.

The ROC went into the tournament as the favourites, having been less affected by the NHL withdrawal, but faced an unbeaten Finnish team in the final.

ROC had lost in the preliminary round to Czech Republic in overtime, but made it to the final without any upsets, last defeating Sweden in the semi-finals in extra-time. 

Finland eased past Slovakia, beating them 2-0 in the same round.

Meeting in the final, the ROC got the early advantage, as Mikhail Grigorenko scored the opener after just over seven minutes.

It took until the second period for Finland to equalise after Hannes Bjorninen and Atte Ohtamaa set up Ville Pokka for a drifting shot from the right point that dipped the goaltender.

Bjorninen will be the player remembered for scoring the winner within 31 seconds of the start of the third period, atoning for some chances he missed earlier in the game.

Hannes Bjorninen scored the winner in the third period for Finland ©Getty Images
Hannes Bjorninen scored the winner in the third period for Finland ©Getty Images

"This is a really big thing for us," said Bjorninen after the game. 

"We know how to play, how we want to play and we just worked together and to have fun out there.

"We knew that we would get a few good chances to score."

Slovakia made history too in the bronze medal match, winning its first Olympic medal in men's ice hockey with a 4-0 win over Sweden.

Juraj Slavkosky - who was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament - scored the opener in the second period and Samuel Takac made it two before the final 20 minutes started.

In desperation for a goal, Sweden pulled its goalie in the last couple of minutes, but were undone further when their players were caught out by Slafkovsky and Pavol Regenda in the final minute of the game.