Following Canada's lead, Finnish team masks up for Olympic hockey game vs. ROC

The Finnish women's hockey team sported masks throughout Tuesday's 5-0 win over the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) at the Beijing Olympics after opposing forward Polina Bolgareva tested positive for coronavirus following Monday's loss to Canada.

An 8th Russian Olympic Committee player has returned a positive COVID-19 test

Finland's Viivi Vainikka, left, challenges unmasked Russian Olympic Committee player Nina Pirogova during a women's preliminary round game on Tuesday in Beijing. ROC is minus eight players because of positive coronavirus tests. (Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP via Getty Images)

The Finnish women's hockey team sported masks for Tuesday's Olympic matchup, no doubt aware another player on the Russian Olympic Committe (ROC) squad tested positive for coronavirus.

Forward Polina Bolgareva returned a positive test after suiting up for Monday's 6-1 loss to Canada, according to head coach Evgeny Bobariko. That game was delayed over an hour because of COVID-19 concerns on both teams.

Bobariko said the team was informed about the positive test after returning to the Olympic Village following the game.

The ROC has eight players unavailable in Beijing because of the virus and another player was left in Moscow after a positive test.

"I don't know how it's happening," Bobariko said.

WATCH | Finland dons masks, blanks undermanned ROC:

Finland dons masks against ROC in women's hockey

5 months ago
Duration 1:06
Finland followed the lead of the Canadian women's team after another member of the ROC squad reportedly tested positive for COVID.

Last week, six ROC members were placed in isolation after testing positive. 

Maskless for 3rd period

The added equipment didn't appear to faze Finland, which cruised to a 5-0 victory, their second against three losses in Beijing while Russia has one victory in five starts.

Canada and ROC agreed to start their game wearing N95 masks under their helmet cages, but the Russians removed theirs to begin the third period.

WATCH | Canada defeats ROC to remain undefeated at Beijing Games:

Canada's women's hockey team stays perfect with win over Russian Olympic Committee

5 months ago
Duration 4:40
Canada's women's hockey team stays perfect with win over Russian Olympic Committee

The Canadians weren't comfortable playing until there was further discussion around testing results, as it wasn't clear the ROC had submitted all testing results before puck drop.

"Our [general manager] said we were wearing masks and we were like, 'OK, let's go win a game in masks.' Not a big deal for us," Canadian forward Brianne Jenner said. "We have been training a lot in these.

"Maybe you lost a puck or two at your feet, but we don't want to use it as an excuse."

Canada will face Sweden, the third seed in Pool B, in the quarter-finals on Friday at 8 a.m. ET (CBCSports.ca, CBC Sports app, CBC Gem).

The United States meets the Czech Republic, Finland takes on Japan and Switzerland and Russia square off in the other quarter-finals.

With files from The Canadian Press, Associated Press

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