Russia through to semis
Finns on losing end of goalies' duel
Daria Beloglazova scored two goals for the winners and captain Fanuza Kadirova scored the other goal in what was a mostly tense, defensive struggle until two late goals made the score a little more comfortable.
Finland is now off to the 5th-place game on Thursday afternoon against the Czech Republic.
Russia defeated Finland in both 2014 and 2015 en route to a bronze medal.
"I’m not sure I played that well," a disconsolate Pajarinen said afterwards, "but as a goalie I can only do so much. I think we put up a good fight right until the end."
"It was a stressful game because the score was so close for so long," Beloglazova suggested, "but I think we played well defensively, especially in the second period. We tried to be patient and wait for our chances."
The Russians got the only goal of the opening period on a power play, although the man advantage had little to do with the play. Nina Pirogova’s point shot went wide, but goalie Pajarinen overplayed the shot just a little. The puck ricocheted off the backboards and came out the other side where Beloglazova stuffed it in at 7:50.
"I was lucky to get the bounce after Nina’s shot," Beloglazova said. "It came right to me. That was my first goal for the national team, so I’m happy it was an important one."
Surprisingly, this was the only goal of the first two periods. Both teams had several power-play chances, but a lack of scoring touch around the net cost both teams.
Petra Nieminen had a great chance to tie the game in the third while short-handed. She stole the puck at her own blue line and hustled down the ice, but just as she was about to make her move she lost the puck and the chance was gone.
She had two other fine chances later on but couldn't cash in on either as Tarakanova was just that little bit better.
Kadirova's goal came with the empty net. She raced down the ice to nullify an icing call and then swept the puck in from a difficult angle.
Just 12 seconds later, Beloglazova scored again, on a breakaway, roofing a beautiful shot over Pajarinen's blocker.
"When we scored, we got our confidence up, even when the Finns were on the attack. We played really well today," Beloglazova summarized.