Following a clean sweep of the Karjala Tournament by Russia a month ago, the Channel One Cup was not as linear for the International Hockey Lineal Championship, as Finland became the third new champion in three straight games, winning the title from Sweden in a 4-3 victory to close the Cup.
Sweden took the advantage early on in the game, capitalizing on the game’s first penalty for Patrik Zackrisson to convert on a power play goal past Teemu Lassila for the 1-0 lead. However, the Leijonat would equalize before the first period ended, with a Ville Uusitalo tally with only 84 seconds left in the period evening things at 1-1 after twenty minutes.
Jonas Andersson would regain the Tre Kronor lead early in the second, but Tuomas Kiiskinen answered back just 1:05 afterwards to tie things again, and a Mikko Kousa power play goal towards the end of the second put the Finns ahead 3-2. Juuso Hietanen would extend the lead to 4-2 late in the third, and while Mattias Ekholm did manage a third goal with the extra attacker, the goal came with just 55 seconds left in regulation, not enough time to score the tying goal, allowing Finland to hang on for the 4-3 win.
With the win, Finland captures its 41st International Hockey Lineal Championship reign, their first since this year’s World Championships, where they won from Russia in the Semifinals en route to their Gold Medal victory over Sweden. The aforementioned Gold Medal Game, a 6-1 thrashing of Sweden, was the last IHLC meeting between these two rivals, who meet for the 66th time in history with the IHLC up for grabs. The win also ensures that Finland will hold the title next on home ice, for the opening of the Oddset Hockey Games against Russia in Helsinki on February 9.
05:12 – PEN – Osala, holding
05:56 – PP GOAL – Zackrisson (Söderberg, Axelsson)
09:13 – PEN – Lauritzen, slashing
11:02 – PEN – Mäenpää, tripping
18:36 – GOAL – Uusitalo (Wirtanen)
21:08 – GOAL – Andersson (Ekholm, Bergfors)
22:13 – GOAL – Kiiskinen (Kuparinen)
26:25 – PEN – Wirtanen, roughing
32:41 – PEN – Heikkinen, interference
35:42 – PEN – Frögren, hooking
36:05 – PP GOAL – Kousa (Heikkinen, Kiiskinen)
36:14 – PEN – Osala, elbowing
38:38 – PEN – Kronwall, tripping
38:38 – PEN – Osala, abuse of official 10 min. misconduct
39:01 – PEN – Lundh, slashing
47:13 – PEN – Ekholm, hooking
55:40 – PEN – Marjamäki, holding
58:14 – GOAL – Hietanen (Enlund)
59:05 – EA GOAL – Ekholm
W: Lassila (18-21)
L: Eriksson (26-30)
SHOTS ON GOAL
9+12+9 = 30
10+5+6 = 21
Goaltenders: Mikko Koskinen, Teemu Lassila. Defence: Ilkka Heikkinen (A), Juuso Hietanen, Janne Jalasvaara, Joonas Järvinen, Mikko Jokela, Mikko Kousa, Mikko Mäenpää (C), Ville Uusitalo. Forwards: Marko Anttila, Jonas Enlund, Juhani Jasu, Joonas Kemppainen, Tuomas Kiiskinen, Matti Kuparinen, Perttu Lindgren, Ossi Louhivaara, Masi Marjamäki, Oskar Osala, Harri Pesonen, Petteri Wirtanen (A).
Goaltenders: Joacim Eriksson, Viktor Fasth. Defence: Mattias Ekholm, Oscar Eklund, Jonas Frögren, Mattias Karlsson, Staffan Kronwall (A), Tobias Viklund. Forwards: Jonas Andersson, Dick Axelsson, Niclas Bergfors, Nicklas Danielsson, Andreas Falk, Mikael Johansson, Sebastian Lauritzen, Niklas Persson (C), Robert Rosén, Mattias Sjögren (A), Carl Söderberg, Patrik Zackrisson.