Finland took advantage of an exhausted Swedish squad Saturday in Helsinki, earning a hard-fought 3-1 victory to capture the International Hockey Lineal Championship.
With Magnus Hellberg in goal just 24 hours after shutting out Canada, riding Hellberg’s hot glove instead of a more well-rested Jhonas Enroth, the cracks showed early on, as Eeli Tolvanen pounced on a Hellberg mistake early to give the Leijonat an early lead. After Hellberg poorly cleared the puck and landed it right on Tolvanen’s stick, the young Nashville Predator prospect dropped the puck for Petri Kontiola, who in turn returned the pass to a now-loose Tolvanen, blasting the one-timer through traffic from the top of the slot for the early lead. Hellberg recovered after this, and each side played a relatively defensive game (only five shots apiece) in the first period.
After doubling the score with a Jukka Peltola strike just fifty seconds into the second period, Finland drove the final nail in the coffin midway through the period, just 24 seconds after killing off a penalty, when Sakari Manninen, the second Finn to get a rebound attempt after Mika Pyörälä was stymied by Hellberg, banged in the 3-0 goal, with little to no Swedish interference. Hellberg was pulled in favour of Enroth, and Fredrik Pettersson did manage to strike 20 seconds later on a bad-angle shot from behind the goal that deflected off Mikko Koskinen and in, but Tre Kronor was able to garner any further offense. Koskinen and the defensive corps remained rock solid for the final 20 minutes, with a scoreless third meaning the game ended in a 3-1 Finnish victory.
With the win, Finland captures their 51st International Hockey Lineal Championship title, and their first since a one-game reign at the World Championships in May. This marked the 74th showdown over the IHLC between Sweden and Finland (of which Sweden leads 37-26-11), and the first since the 2014 Karjala Tournament, a 3-0 Sweden victory on the very same Hartwall Arena ice. With Finland’s win, this ensures the IHLC will stay in Helsinki for one more day, as they wrap up their tournament tomorrow against Canada with the title up for grabs.
03:20 – GOAL – Tolvanen (Kontiola)
05:01 – PEN – Högström, holding
05:42 – PEN – Hartikainen, tripping
14:54 – PEN – Everberg, interference
20:50 – GOAL – Peltola (Tolvanen)
28:35 – PEN – Savinainen, tripping
30:59 – GOAL – Manninen (Lajunen, Pyörälä)
31:19 – GOAL – Pettersson (Gustafsson, Nilsson)
31:36 – PEN – Hartikainen, slashing
47:18 – PEN – Lajunen, tripping
50:07 – PEN – Högström, interference
W: Koskinen (24-25)
L: Hellberg (9-12), Enroth (13-13)
SHOTS ON GOAL
5+14+6 = 25
5+12+8 = 25
Goaltenders: Eeero Kilpeläinen, Mikko Koskinen. Defence: Miro Heiskanen, Jyrki Jokipakka, Miika Koivisto, Lasse Kukkonen (C), Ville Lajunen, Mikko Lehtonen, Jesse Virtanen. Forwards: Antti Erkinjuntti, Teemu Hartikainen, Julius Junttila, Joonas Kemppainen, Petri Kontiola (A), Jarno Koskiranta (A), Jani Lajunen, Sakari Manninen, Mika Niemi, Jukka Peltola, Mika Pyörälä, Veli-Matti Savinainen, Eeli Tolvanen.
Goaltenders: Jhonas Enroth, Magnus Hellberg. Defence: Jonas Ahnelöv, Simon Bertilsson, Rasmus Dahlin, Johan Fransson, Erik Gustafsson (A), Marcus Högström, Staffan Kronwall (C), Magnus Nygren. Forwards: Rasmus Asplund, Dick Axelsson, Patrick Cehlin, Dennis Everberg, Anton Lander, Pär Lindholm, Joakim Lindström, Oscar Möller, Robert Nilsson, John Norman, Linus Omark (A), Fredrik Pettersson, Johan Ryno.