Archive for WJC – Finland

Finns Triumph On Swedish Soil, Celebrate Third Title At World Junior Championships


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An enterprising little solo skate along the goal line by an ambitious defenseman deep in the offensive zone led to directly to the deciding strike nearing the halfway point of the twenty-minute overtime session and permitted underdog FINLAND to complete a dramatic 3-2 victory over long-time arch-rival SWEDEN in the GOLD MEDAL GAME of the 2014 IIHF World Championships at the Malmo Arena in Sweden.

Goaltender JUUSE SAROS of HPK Hameenlinna was, perhaps, the real star of the show as Finland celebrated just its third title ever in the 37-year history of the planet’s premier tournament for teenagers. The 18-year-old who was plucked by the Nashville Predators in the fourth round (# 99 overall) of the 2013 National Hockey League Draft seven months ago, proved instrumental for a counterattack-minded Suomi all throughout the contest and ended up stopping 35 of 37 Swedish shots. Aside from the coveted gold medal, Saros was also awarded a place on the competition’s official All-Star squad after appearing in six of Finland’s seven games (1.57 avg, .943 svpct) in Malmo.

The Finns, who avenged the earlier 4-2 loss to their western neighbors in the round robin phase of this year’s tournament but still trail in the all-time series record between the two countries at the IIHF World Junior Championships (the Swedes have 15 wins against 14 losses and a pair of draws), actually required only 28 seconds to get on the scoreboard in the all-Scandinavian Gold Medal Game at the Malmo Arena. A long wrist shot from the left point by Finland defenseman ESA LINDELL, the third round choice (# 74 overall) of the Dallas Stars at the 2012 NHL Draft, somehow eluded Sweden goaltender OSCAR DANSK, the second round choice (# 31 overall) of the Columbus Blue Jackets at the very same 2012 NHL Draft. It was an uncharacteristic mistake from Dansk, the 19-year-old native of Stockholm who would ultimately be named the tournament’s Best Goaltender by the IIHF Directorate for his distinguished efforts throughout the Malmo tournament (6 ga, 1.79 avg, .929 svpct) on behalf of Tre Kronor throughout the entire Malmo tournament.

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Sweden had won all six of its contests at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships going into the Gold Medal Game on home ice in Malmo and were eager to celebrate its third title in history. Tre Kronor had also defeated its historical nemesis Suomi five times in succession at the World Juniors — Finland had not defeated Sweden since 2006 and had been soundly thrashed 9-2 the last time the two teams skated on the same sheet of Swedish ice in 1993 at Gavle. So it should come as no great surprise that Tre Kronor twice managed to level terms (albeit with the aid of power plays) after falling behind to the Finns at the Malmo Arena.

Still, less than ten minutes remained in regulation time when Sweden defenseman CHRISTIAN DJOOS of IF Brynas Gavle, the seventh round selection (# 195 overall) of the Washington Capitals at the 2012 NHL Draft, found the back of the net with a seeing-eye laser from the point that magically eluded a maze of players in front before tucking neatly into the top right hand corner. And the Swedes never were able to produce a winner for the home folks in the country’s third-largest city despite maintaing consistent pressure against Finland. Left wing FILIP FORSBERG, the 19-year-old who has already skated in a dozen NHL contests (one goal, four assists) for the Nashville Predators this season, was a shadow of the prolific player who had averaged two points per game in Sweden’s first six contests at this 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships in Malmo.

And so, it was left for Finland defenseman RASMUS RISTOLAINEN, the promising 19-year-old native of Turku whom the Buffalo Sabres made the eighth overall player chosen at the 2012 NHL Draft, to settle epic clash with its traditional arch-rival after almost ten minutes of overtime. TEUVO TARAVAINEN of Jokeit Helsinki, the first round choice (# 18 overall) of the Chicago Black Hawks at the 2012 NHL Draft who assisted on all three of Finland’s goals during this Gold Medal Game, started a wraparound play and Ristolainen was able to pickup the puck at the goal line along the boards on the right. Unchallenged, the Finnish rearguard simply headed straight for the net and skillfully stickhanded past the Swedish duo of the pre-occupied defenseman ROBERT HAGG from Mo Do Ornskolsvik and the particularly passive center ELIAS LINDHOLM from the NHL’s Carolina Hurricane before forcing the puck through the pads of the Tre Kronor custodian Dansk.

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Finland defenseman RASMUS RISTOLAINEN (5) from the American Hockey League’s Rochester Americans slips the puck just under the right pad of Sweden goaltender OSCAR DANSK to score the always-rare “Golden Goal” almost halfway through the overtime session of the Gold Medal Game at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championshps in Malmo, Sweden.
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January 5, 2014
2014 IIHF World Junior Championships – Gold Medal Game
Malmo Arena : Attendance : 12,023

FINLAND 3 – SWEDEN 2 … (overtime)

00:28 … FIN – Lindell (Maenalanen, Teravainen)
27:53 … SWE – Wallmark (Bengtsson, Djoos) – ppg
28:38 … FIN – Maenalanen (Teravainen, Lehkonen)
50:53 … SWE – Djoos (Wallmark, Collberg) – ppg
69:42 … FIN – Ristolainen (Teravainen, Vainonen)

shots-on-goal : SWE 37 (12 + 14 + 6 + 5) – FIN 31 (11 + 7 + 7 + 6)

penalty minutes : FIN 12 – SWE 4

referees : Papp (Canada) and Stricker (Switzerland)

SWEDEN : Dansk – Djoos, Arnesson ; Bengtsson, Olofsson ; Norell, Hagg – Johnson, Wennberg, Collberg ; Forsberg, Lindholm, de la Rose ; Burakowsky, Wallmark, Sorensen ; E. Karlsson, Sundqvist, Sandberg ; A. Karlsson

FINLAND : Saros – Lindell, Pokka ; Lehtonen, Ristolainen ; Honka, Vaionen ; Vainio – Lehkonen, Teravainen, Maenalanen ; Nikko, Mustonen, Haapala ; Nattinen, Kinnunen, J. Ikonen ; H. Ikonen, Rauhala, Leskinen

Notes — Sweden were without suspended defenseman JESPER PETTERSSON of HC Linkoping while the Finns also only suited up 19 skaters

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Decided Underdog Finland Defeats Canada In WJC Semi-Final


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A lucky bounced that directly led to the first of three second period as well as very reliable goaltending throughout the entire contest formed the foundation of success for the country that had already lost twice in round robing portion of the tournament as decided underdog FINLAND skated right past shell-shocked CANADA 5-1 at the semi-final hurdle of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships in Malmo, Sweden.

The startling upset watched by 11,544 spectators marked the first time that the Finns had been able to defeat the always strong Canadians at that annual competition for the planet’s premier players under 20 years of age since the winter of 2001/02. As events unfolded on that occasion, Finland knocked off Canada 4-1 at the Zimni Stadion in the Czech city of Hradec Kralove on the final day of the preliminary round robin. This latest triumph over the Canucks by head coach KARRI KIVI’s squad at the Malmo Arena in Scandinavia, however, paves the way for Finland’s first appearance in the Gold Medal Game since the 2001 IIHF World Junior Championships that were held in Russia.

Finland goaltender JUSSE SAROS, the unflappable 18-year-old from domestic league club HPK Hameenlinna who was plucked by the Nashville Predators in the fourth round (# 99 overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft this past summer, was very strong in the nets and kept out all but one of the twenty-four Canadian attempts on target.

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A little more than four minutes into the second period, Finland left wing JONI NIKKO (11), the undrafted 19-year-old who currently skates for Lukko Rauma in the domestic elite league, picked up a loose puck in the slot after the little black disc had caromed rather oddly off a rut in the ice along the boards behind the net and successfully converted his chance with an accurate shot that flew over the right shoulder of Canada goaltender ZACH FUCALE, the second round choice (# 36 overall) of the storied Montreal Canadiens at the 2013 National Hockey League Draft.
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Finland left wing ARTTURI LEHKONEN (28) of Kalpa Kuopio, yet another second round selection (# 55 overall) of the famed Montreal Canadiens at the 2013 NHL Draft, makes an excellent play to control a rebound at close range and quickly shift to the backhand in order to effectively beat the Canadian goaltender Fucale and score his third goal at this 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships while doubling the lead for Suomi barely six minutes into the pivotal second period at the Malmo Arena in Sweden.
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Finland defenseman RASMUS RISTOLAINEN (5) of the American Hockey League’s Rochester Americans, the 19-year-old native of Hameenlinna who has already skated in 19 National Hockey League games for the Buffalo Sabres this season but was sent down to the minors in mid-November, whips his wrist shot over the shoulder of Canada goaltender ZACH FUCALE from defending Memorial Cup champion Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League to score his second goal of the tournament in Malmo …… Ironically enough, only moments before Ristolainen netted his critical tally to give the Finns a 3-1 advantage with just over four minutes left in the second period, Fucale had pulled off what might have been the best save of the entire tournament when, very much like a shortstop in baseball, the Canadian completely stretched out and dove across the face of goal to deny a Finnish shooter with his catching glove at point blank range.
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Finland center TEUVO TERAVAINEN (20) of Jokerit Helsinki, the creative and talented 19-year-old who was the first round choice (# 18 overall) of the Chicago Black Hawks at the 2012 NHL Draft, successfully converts a late third period penalty shot by skillfully lifting his backhander over the catching glove of Canada goaltender ZACH FUCAL. Exactly 23 seconds thereafter, the influential Teravainen sealed the deal for the Finns by scoring his second goal of this semi-final match at the Malmo Arena into an unguarded Canadian goal. Twelve points from the Finland’s first six games meant that Teravainen shared tournament scoring leadership with Sweden’s Filip Forsberg heading into the very last contest of this 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships.
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January 4, 2014
2014 IIHF World Junior Championships – Semifinal
Malmo Arena – Attendance : 11,544

FINLAND 5 – CANADA 1

24:19 … FIN – Nikko (Honka)
26:10 … FIN – Lehkonen (Maenalanen, Teravainen) – ppg
31:24 … CAN – Drouin (Lazar)
35:56 … FIN – Ristolainen (Vainonen, Haapala)
58:48 … FIN – Teravainen (penalty shot)
59:11 … FIN – Teravainen (Pokka)

shots-on-goal : CAN 24 ( 7 + 7 + 10 ) – FIN 23 ( 7 + 12 + 4 )

penalty minutes : CAN 10 (plus two 10-minute misconducts) – FIN 10

referees : Wiegand (Switzerland) and Mayer (United States)

FINLAND : Saros – Lindell, Pokka ; Lehtonen, Ristolainen ; Honka, Vainonen ; Vainio – Lehkonen, Teravainen, Meanalanen ; Nikko, Mustonen, Haapala ; Kumala, Kinnunen, J. Ikonen ; H. Ikonen, Rauhala, Leskinen ; Nattinen

CANADA : Fucale – Ekblad, Pouliot ; G. Reinhart, Dumba ; Pelech, Morrissey ; Bigras – Hudon, Drouin, Mantha ; Laughton, Horvat, S. Reinhart ; Petan, Lazar, McDavid ; Rychel, Gauthier, Anderson ; Leier

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United States Defeats Determined Finland In WJC Tune-Up


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United States forward NIC KERDILES (17) of the University of Wisconsin, the second round selection (# 36 overall) of the Anaheim Ducks at the 2012 National Hockey League Draft, prepares to face-off against highly touted Finland center TEUVO TERAVAINEN (20) of Jokerit Helsinki, the first round choice (# 18 overall) of the Chicago Black Hawks at the very same 2012 NHL Draft two summers ago, during the international exhibition between the two respective junior national teams at the Lindab Arena in Angelholm, Sweden.
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Two rapid-fire goals at the start of the third period and thirty-eight saves from one of only three returning veterans from the American squad which won the gold medal at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships in Russia last winter powered the UNITED STATES to a narrow 3-2 victory over FINLAND in an international exhibition contest in Sweden.

The United States struck first less than ten and a half minutes into the game when Boston University center DAN O’REGAN, the sophomore who was tabbed in the fifth round of the 2012 NHL Draft by the San Jose Sharks, netted on the power play to score his second goal in as many exhibition games in Sweden. The second period saw almost a complete reversal of fortunes as it was the Finns who now decisively outshot their opponents. Fittingly enough, it was Finland who leveled terms in the middle frame when skillful right wing ARTTURI LEHKONEN of Kalpa Kuopio tallied with the man advantage nearing the halfway point of the match.

The United States tipped the scales in their favor for good by scoring two quick goals in the early part of the last period. Right wing RYAN HARTMAN of the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers, the first round pick (# 30 overall) of the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Black Hawks at the 2013 NHL Draft, hammered home his second goal in as many exhibition games in Sweden with a first-time blast from the right slot after center JACK EICHEL, the talented 17-year-old who has already indicated he will skate for Boston University next season, made a slick move to set up his passing angle. Less than three minutes later, University of Minnesota defenseman BRADY SKJEI, the first round selection (# 28 overall) of the New York Rangers at the 2012 NHL Draft, rifled a shot from the right point past Finland goaltender JUUSE SAROS of HPK Hameenlinna, the 18-year-old who was nabbed by the Nashville Predators in the fourth round (# 99 overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft last summer.

The Finns were able to pull within striking distance after captain TEUVO TERAVAINEN, the 19-year-old native of Helsinki who totaled five goals and eleven points in six games at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships twelve months ago, capitalized on a 5-on-3 power play situation at the 11:33 mark of the third period. Finland, in particular, seriously threatened to equalize in the last sixty seconds but were agonizingly unsuccessful. United States goaltender JON GILLES, the 19-year-old from South Portland, Maine, who was named an NCAA (East) Second Team All-America for Providence College last season, finished with 38 saves and all but assured himself of the first string position between the pipes for the defending champions at the upcoming IIHF World Junior Championships to be held in Malmo, Sweden.

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United States goaltender JON GILLIES (32), the standout sophomore from Providence College who was the backup netminder on the American squad which captured the gold medal at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships held in the Russian city of Ufa last winter, does the splits to stop the puck as Finland right wing ARTTURI LEHKONEN (28) of Kalpa Kuopio, the promising 18-year-old who was the second round pick (# 55 overall) of the Montreal Canadiens at the 2013 NHL Draft this past summer, hunts for a rebound during the international exhibition contest at the Lindab Arena in Angelholm, Sweden.
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December 22, 2013
Lindab Arena – Angelholm, Sweden

UNITED STATES 3 – FINLAND 2

10:21 … USA – D. O’Regan (R. Barber, N. Kerdiles) – ppg
27:32 … FIN – A. Lehkonen (V. Pokka, T. Teravainen) – ppg
42:23 … USA – R. Hartman (J. Eichel, Z. Stepan)
45:16 … USA – B. Skjei (T. Di Pauli, V. Hinostroza)
51:33 … FIN – T. Teravainen (A. Lehkonen, V. Pokka) – ppg

shots-on-goal : FIN 40 ( 9 + 18 + 13) – USA 39 ( 14 + 9 + 16 )

penalty minutes : USA 10 – FIN 8

UNITED STATES : Gilles – Skjei, Carrick ; Butcher, Santini ; McCoshen, Grzelcyk ; Slavin – Kerdiles, O’Regan, Barber ; Samuelsson, Eichel, Hartman ; Matteau, Fasching, Copp ; Hinostroza, Shore, Di Pauli ; Stepan

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United States center DAN O’REGAN (10) of Boston University beats Finland goaltender JUUSE SAROS (31), the youngster who has assumed the mantle of first string for the senior side of HPK Hameenlinna in the country’s domestic elite league, just inside the post to the glove side and scores the first goal of the international exhibition contest at the Lindab Arena in Angelholm, Sweden.

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