In the final game of the Channel One Cup, with rankings both in the tournament and the larger Euro Hockey Tour on the line, Finland pulled out a 4-2 victory over Sweden to finish second overall in Sochi, retaining the International Hockey Lineal Championship in the process.
While the first period was largely a slow, sloppy affair, both sides sharpened their game in the second, with Andreas Engqvist opening the scoring 3:47 into the second on a feed from John Klingberg, to put the puck past Mikko Koskinen to take a 1-0 lead. The lead was short-lived, however, as Jere Sallinen converted a bouncing puck in front of Henrik Karlsson to tie things up less than two minutes later. A follow-up goal from Pekka Jormakka eight minutes later puts Finland ahead 2-1 after forty minutes, shots nearly even at 16-15 in Finland’s favour.
Finland added to the lead with a Teemu Hartikainen tally midway through the third, leaving Sweden down two with ten minutes remaining. While it seemed that Sweden had glorious chances to tie, including getting a gifted goal from Engqvist on an empty Finnish net while shorthanded, and the Leijonat being left short a defenceman when Mikko Mäenpää was tossed from the game for abusing an official, Tre Kronor was unable to convert anything past Koskinen, and Olli Palola put the final nail in the coffin with an empty net goal with 1:04 remaining.
With the victory, Finland wins its first defense of the International Hockey Lineal Championship it won from Russia yesterday evening, also ensuring Finland will bring back the IHLC to Sochi as champions at the 2014 Olympic Games. Finland last played Sweden, who they have met 72 times with the IHLC on the line, for the title at the Oddset Hockey Games in February, with Finland winning 5-2. Finland, who with the win finishes second in the Channel One Cup standings behind the Czech Republic, will open its Olympic defense against Austria on February 13.
03:24 – PEN – Lundqvist, hooking
09:12 – PEN – Hersley, tripping
15:37 – PEN – Ericsson, roughing
23:47 – GOAL – Engqvist (Klingberg)
25:28 – GOAL – J. Sallinen (Huhtala, Mäenpää)
30:33 – PEN – Karalahti, holding
33:55 – GOAL – Jormakka (Koho, Palola)
37:30 – PEN – Hersley, high sticking
46:59 – GOAL – Hartikainen (Jalasvaara, Pesonen)
49:46 – PEN – Andersén, tripping
50:04 – SH GOAL – Engqvist (Rahimi)
50:04 – PEN – Mäenpää, abuse of official match + game misconduct
58:56 – EN GOAL – Palola
W: Koskinen (18-20)
L: Karlsson (27-30)
SHOTS ON GOAL
6+10+15 = 31
5+10+5 = 20
Goaltenders: Atte Engren, Mikko Koskinen. Defence: Topi Jaakola (A), Janne Jalasvaara, Jere Karalahti (A), Mikko Mäenpää, Atte Ohtamaa, Toni Rajala, Anssi Salmela. Forwards: Joonas Donskoi, Teemu Hartikainen, Tommi Huhtala, Juha-Pekka Hytönen (C), Pekka Jormakka, Joonas Kemppainen, Ville Koho, Olli Palola, Janne Pesonen, Juuso Puustinen, Jere Sallinen, Tomi Sallinen.
Goaltenders: Henrik Karlsson, Linus Ullmark. Defence: Niclas Andersén, Niclas Burström, Patrik Hersley, John Klingberg, Daniel Rahimi, Andreas Thuresson, Tobias Viklund. Forwards: Daniel Bång, Daniel Brodin, Andreas Engqvist, Jimmie Ericsson (A), Mikael Johansson, William Karlsson, Linus Klasen, Joel Lundqvist (C), Marcus Paulsson, Niklas Persson (A), Mattias Sjögren, Tom Wandell.