Finland beats Russia 4-3 to become world juniors champions
HELSINKI – Kasperi Kapanen scored a wraparound goal in overtime as Finland rallied past Russia 4-3 on Tuesday to win the world junior hockey championship.
Patrik Laine, Sebastian Aho and captain Mikko Rantanen all scored in the third period as Finland staged a late comeback. Kaapo Kahkonen made 22 saves for the win.
Andrei Svetlakov scored twice for Russia, while Vladislav Kamenev had a goal as well. Alexander Georgiev stopped 25 shots.
Kapanen deked around two defenders, skated around the back of Russia’s goal and threw the puck into a wide-open net as Georgiev failed to dive back into position.
It was Finland’s fourth world junior title and second in the past three years.
Georgiev’s start in net was a surprise after Ilya Samsonov’s solid 26-save performance in Russia’s 2-1 semifinal win over the United States. Earlier in the day, Anders Bjork, Matthew Tkachuk and Ryan Donato each scored two goals as the Americans defeated Sweden 8-3 to win bronze.
Kamenev gave Russia a 1-0 lead nearly five minutes into the game, wiring a one-timer from the top of the faceoff circle past Kahkonen. The power play had been set up after an unfortunate mistake by Kahkonen, who earned a delay of game penalty when he put the puck over the boards.
The Russians played conservatively after Kamenev’s goal, forcing Finland to work for any scoring opportunities in the first and second period.
Laine tied the game just 24 seconds into the third period. He took a drop pass from Aho before snapping a wrist shot past Georgiev to put Finland on the board.
Svetlakov responded nearly a minute and a half later to give Russia the lead again. He broke down the left wing before throwing a fake and beating Kahkonen.
Aho tied it 2-2 midway through the period. He was unmarked to the left of Russia’s crease when linemate Jesse Puljujarvi sent a pass his way. Aho slapped the puck past a helpless Georgiev to the delight of the hometown crowd.
Rantanen’s goal came on the power play as Russia started to unravel. He tipped in a point shot from Vili Saarijarvi, bringing the crowd to its feet.
Kamenev received a 10-minute major and a game misconduct for unsportsmanlike conduct after the goal as he berated officials for giving Russian teammate Dmitri Sergeyev the tripping penalty that led to the power play. Svetlakov’s second goal of the night came with just six seconds left to play in the third after Georgiev was pulled for an extra attacker.
Three Russian players crowded Kahkonen’s crease, with Svetlakov pushing a rebound in to force overtime.
Although the fans at Hartwall Arena – home of the Kontinental Hockey League’s Jokerit club – were mainly Finnish, there were supporters from many of the participating nations in attendance. Many Canadians in attendance supported the host side even though the Finns eliminated Canada in the quarter-finals.
Red-clad fans could be seen waving Canadian flags and dancing in the stands along with Finnish supporters chanting “Suomi!” for all of the host side’s goals.
© 2016 The Canadian Press