Advertisement

Finns win to face Canada in final

Finns win to face Canada in final Kasper Puutio broke up a deadlock in the 2nd quarter while goalie Juha Jatkola recorded a 23-save shutout in the second period as Finland defeated arch-rival Sweden by 1-0 at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship semi-final on Friday. The Finns will take on the hosts Canada to win gold on the ice in Edmonton this Saturday.
“It’s incredible,” said Puutio. “This is such a great group of guys. A lot of us have been playing together for six years and have faced a lot of adversity. I can’t describe this feeling now. It’s going to be hard to get some sleep, but we’ll be ready to go.”

The other team, Canada who beat Czechia 5-1 in the semi-finals Coach Antti Pennanen’s Finns will be looking for their country’s sixth gold medallion. Finland has previously won gold in 1988, 1987, 2014, and the year 2019.

Finnish captain Roni Hirvonen praised his team’s performance against Sweden: “I think it was a really solid performance from all of us. We did all the things you need to do to win. We didn’t give them any decent chances. We played defense well. We played well together and backchecked hard, didn’t leave any gaps between the defense and forwards. That was the biggest thing.”

In the net, Swedish starter Jesper Wallstedt made a strong effort with 27 saves against the loss. Pennanen shrewdly decided to grant Jatkola only his second game in these World Juniors. The second goalie of the team had 13 saves as Finland defeated Slovakia 9-3 at the stage of the groups.

This is a remarkable event, and the first World Junior Final between Canada and Finland ever. Both teams have competed in the gold medal race six times in Men’s Worlds.

Canada beat Finland for gold in 1994, 2007 in 2016, 2016, and 2021 in the past, and the Finns returned the favor in 2022 and 2019. Finnish hockey’s confidence in their sport is overall high and we’ll soon examine if this can be translated into the U20 league.

“It’s been a dream of mine since I was a little kid, and now it’s real,” Hirvonen stated. “We have to do it one more time.”

Under head coach Tomas Monten in his final World Juniors, Sweden will attempt to claim the bronze medal over an unbeaten Czech team who defeated the Americans by a 4-2 quarter-final surprise. The Czechs are desperate for an award, having previously won bronze in 2005.

“It’s tough to think about what went wrong right after the game,” said Swedish captain Emil Andrae. “It’s a tough loss. They slowed us down as we entered their zone. We didn’t get a lot of time in their zone. It’s a 1-0 game. It could have been us winning.”

The number one Finnish goalie Leevi Merilainen sat on the bench following an 89.3 saving percentage as well as 2.70 GAA through the 5-2 quarter-final victory over Germany. The shift to Jatkola was reminiscent of the 2016 World Cup in Helsinki where coach Jukka Jalonen switched to Veini Vehvilainen and then Kaapo Kahkonen during the medal round.

The teams alternated their skaters. Finn’s Brad Lambert, limited to one point in the match against Latvia at this point in the tournament, opted to play to be replaced by Ville Koivunen. For Sweden defenseman Anton Olson slotted back in the lineup, while Ludvig Jansson was left out.

The Finns had the tournament’s most deadly power play (13-for-22 with 59 percent) to the semi-finals, but they were unable to convert in the tight-checking first the stanza.

Sweden was a bit shaky off the bat. Daniel Torgersson backhanded the puck over the glass from his own goal to cause a one-minute delay of penalty. However, the Swedes fought the penalty. They also test Jatkola on the run, after he made a great glove save against Oskar Magnusson, and then picked up the loose puck prior to Victor Stjernborg could poke it into.

Finland’s power play had another chance following Andrae the Swedish scoring leader (4+4=8) was handed an boarding penalty after shoving Kasper Simontaival over the boards. However, Suomi was unable to get its feet on the ground, and had its best chance after the penalty expired, with forward Eetu Liukas narrowly failing score on the outside of the.

The Swedes came in late in the opening, and the Swedes had Leo Loof ringing the puck off the right of Jatkola’s posts while the Finnish netminder blocking Liam Ohgren from the slot. But no dice. Jatkola shut the door in the second quarter by securing two Slot saves by Ohgren.

As the Swedes were trapped with too many people on the ice, Wallstedt had the opportunity to shine. He put a huge stop on Simontaival just ahead but was unable to stop Puutio until 5:18.

It was the Finnish assistant captain cut the Swedish Mans Fjorfall in the left faceoff circle before slipping the puck in between the goalie’s pads. The goal was a tie between Puutio who is 20 years old of KalPa Kuopio, with Andrae for the top spot in tournament defenseman goals (four). This is also only the second goal that the highest-ranked Swedish penalty kill gihas ven up at this World Juniors.

The Finns were the team with the most sloppy PK with 45.4 per cent (six goals against 11 negatives) in the semifinals, played on the edge as they handed Sweden five-on-3 for 1:34 at the end of the second period. The closest that the Juniorkronorna got in was the Andrae strike from right-hand faceoff circles which Jatkola was able to catch.

“We were smart with the puck,” Puutio stated. “We never did anything fancy at the blue line, and when they put pressure on us, we were humble and blocked shots and gave it everything we had in front of our goalie. And he played a heck of a game.”

The third period began with a goal the teams fought for the goal that would be their next. Finland’s Juuso Maenpaa scored a goal off the crossbar, while Jatkola blocked Oskar Olausson in a back-to-back chance.

Wallstedt was able to block Aatu Raty’s attempt to score five holes in a breakaway just at the 8 8-minuteark. the Swedish goalkeeper’s left post assisted when Liukas struck it in the run just two minutes later. Wallstedt was also present at the time Kalle Vaisanen was able to swoop through the Swedish defense to create a potentially dangerous opportunity.

With Wallstedt removed to make room for an additional player in the closing minutes Then the Heige Grans strike off the blue line took the mask of Jatkola off. After the game was put on hold, Monten used up his timeout. However, the Swedes did not manage to come up with the goal that tied them.

In the lead up to the bronze fight with Czechia, Andrae said: “We just have to continue to do what we’ve been doing. The basic stuff, go to the net. Right now, it sucks because we lost, but I promise we’re going to be ready for tomorrow. We’ll do everything we can to get that bronze medal.”

Friday was the third semi-final ever offorweden as well as Finland in the years since IIHF established the World Junior playoff system in 1996. In each of the previous games t, he team that won took home the silver medal. It could be a good indication for Finland.

The 2012 match was won by Max Friberg got the penalty shot winner in the 2012 game as Sweden won 3-1. In the year 2016 the Finnish team’s Antti Kalapudas was the final victory, 2-1, which was arranged with the help of Captain Mikko Rantanen as well as Kasperi Kapanen in the power play in mid-second.

Friday’s results lower Sweden’s record-breaking World Junior record versus Finland to 20 wins, 2 ties and 18 losses.

Advertisement
PROMS4U HomeClick here
Rate this post
Sharing Is Caring:

Leave a Comment

Advertisement