After fifty plus years of misery on the international hockey stage, it was a trio of youngsters in their early twenties that finally managed to put the Leijonat atop the world’s stage, defeating their national rivals Sweden 4-1 in the Gold Medal Game to capture the 1995 championship, as well as the International Hockey Lineal Championship.
Riding on the strength of a torrid win streak in Stockholm (including a 6-3 group round win over Sweden), the Finns were cool and collected in front of a raucous Globe Arena crowd, riding the success of the stalwart line of youngsters Ville Peltonen, Saku Koivu and Jere Lehtinen, collectively known as “Hupu, Tupu and Lupu,” Finland’s answer to “Huey, Dewey and Louie.” It was the Donald Duck line that would strike first midway in the opening frame, when Peltonen picked up a Janne Niinimaa rebound off a point shot blast (on a play he set up), finishing the play by popping the puck into a yawning cage left by Swedish keeper Thomas Östlund.
It was the “Ducks” once again, and Peltonen in particular, who would strike hard and fast in the second. While both Östlund and Finnish goalie Jarmo Myllys were sharp throughout the majority of the period, Peltonen would strike twice in 2:17 towards the close of the period to put the game out of reach for Sweden, first blasting a Lehtinen feed just inside the blueline past Östlund, followed by a backhander dipsy-doodle around traffic, past Östlund and deflected in off a nifty Koivu feed. The Stockholm crowd was silenced, down 3-0 with just 20 minutes to go and a hot hand in the Finnish goal.
The misery only intensified in the third, as it was again the Duck line that struck, as a broken up Peltonen play saw the puck roll to the blueline, where defender Timo Jutila ripped a blast through traffic and in, racking up the score to 4-0. And Myllys, who made a number of key saves in the third en route to his 25-save win, gave up his only goal of the night on a regrettable bounce, with a Jonas Bergqvist wrister he swatted away with his glove bouncing up in the air and behind him, ruining his shutout and giving the Stockholm crowd a bit of life. It was too little, too late, however, as Myllys and the Finnish defense corps saw the Leijonat through the rest of the game, cruising to the 4-1 victory to bring Finland its first ever World Championship glory, on enemy territory no less.
With the win, Finland captured their 19th International Hockey Lineal Championship, and first since 1992, winning their first World Championship Gold in history, after playing in the tournament continuously since 1949. This marked the 36th meeting over the IHLC between the Leijonat and Tre Kronor since their first IHLC meeting in 1949 (ironically also at the World Championships in Stockholm), and was their first non-exhibition meeting since Sweden’s 1992 Gold Medal win in Prague. Finland would hold the title for another six months, ultimately dropping it to Sweden in a 5-4 loss to open the 1995 Deutschland Cup in Stuttgart, Germany.
01:09 – PEN – Strömberg, hooking
05:24 – PEN – Jutila, cross checking
08:07 – GOAL – Peltonen (Niinimaa)
11:43 – PEN – Dackell, holding
13:55 – PEN – Sjödin, holding
18:03 – PEN – Kapanen, hooking
22:41 – PEN – Virta, tripping
28:16 – PEN – Peltonen, tripping
31:32 – PEN – Ragnarsson, hooking
37:39 – GOAL – Peltonen (Lehtinen)
39:56 – GOAL – Peltonen (Koivu, Strömberg)
40:18 – PEN – Jutila, holding
42:52 – GOAL – Jutila (Peltonen, Koivu)
43:58 – GOAL – Bergqvist (Stillman, Sjödin)
45:04 – PEN – Niinimaa, cross checking
47:03 – PEN – Nummelin, tripping
56:53 – PEN – Jonsson, roughing
56:53 – PEN – Törmänen, roughing
W: Myllys (24-25)
L: Östlund (16-20)
Goaltenders: Jarmo Myllys, Ari Sulander. Defence: Erik Hämäläinen, Timo Jutila (C), Marko Kiprusoff, Janne Niinimaa, Petteri Nummelin, Mika Strömberg, Hannu Virta. Forwards: Raimo Helminen, Sami Kapanen, Esa Keskinen, Saku Koivu (A), Tero Lehterä, Jere Lehtinen, Mika Nieminen, Janne Ojanen (A), Marko Palo, Ville Peltonen, Raimo Summanen, Antti Törmänen, Juha Ylönen.
Goaltenders: Roger Nordström, Thomas Östlund. Defence: Tomas Jonsson (C), Robert Nordmark, Christer Olsson, Marcus Ragnarsson, Leif Rohlin, Fredrik Stillman. Forwards: Daniel Alfredsson, Charles Berglund, Jonas Bergqvist (A), Andreas Dackell, Per-Erik Eklund, Tomas Forslund, Roger Hansson, Erik Huusko, Andreas Johansson, Mikael Johansson, Jonas Johnsson, Stefan Nilsson, Tommy Sjödin, Stefan Örnskog.