Finland Crowned IIHF Champions

Photo Credit Laird Allan/Sportswave

The hype that rocked both Vancouver and Victoria has officially come to an abrupt end with almost fanfare as the 2010 Olympic and Paralympics.

Canada played strong, but come up short and while some are in shock, I am shocked to hear that some individuals are actually “trash talking” these young men.

Game Focus – Game Ready

These are young men playing a Man’s game that is as competitive as the world of politics and to those who were condemning the play of Team Canada, you were not there to witness first-hand the shock and disbelief from the team – Sportswave was and the loss hit them hard!!

They were eliminated and it wasn’t without trying and the game is  a game of mistakes and the teams that advanced were all focused on taking home the ever illusive Gold medal.

The final medal round was set and with the hype surrounding the IIHF 2019 World Junior Championship all the organizers were hoping for was a sell-out.

They got their wish and with over 17,206 on hand the matchup between the USA and Finland was one that no one could have predicted.

The US got their first taste of the PP when Finish player Kupari was assessed a minor for Elbowing in the first period midway through the period.

The US sent several shots at the net only to have them turned aside, but at the 9:45 mark they thought they had scored only to have the goal reviewed by the officials.

The ruling was that the goal was disallowed as the officials told the US Head Coach Mike Hastings that Wahlstrom had his stick in his (Luukkonen) goalie pads inside the crease.

The first ended scoreless and the Finns managed to kill off a pair of USA power plays and eventually Finish “D-man” Ylonen who hammered a bullet from the point at 11:31 past Primeau’s glove giving the Finns the lead.

It was ironic that Ylonen notched the lone marker on New Year’s Eve in Victoria albeit in a 4-1 losing cause also to the Americans.

The second ended 1-0 for the Finns, but it proved the third period that was the most entertaining period of the Championship game.

Latvala managed to give the Finns a 2-0 lead around the six minute mark with a solid wrist shot that went past a screened Primeau on his stick side of the net.

The US never quit despite being down by 2-0 and managed to get their first of the game 1:01 later on a play that was initially started by Hughes after his shot was blocked by Laaksonen rebounding to the waiting Chmelevski getting them on the board.

The US were “pumped-up” and ready for the challenge and with motivation on their side it was Chmelevski who set up the trying goal.

He simply lifted one to Norris who gently tapped it past Luukkonen tying the game at two setting up an electric finish.

Luukkonen not only made one impressive save stopping Hughes on a breakaway, he managed to stop Wahlstrom four minutes later keeping the Gold medal within reach.

With the third coming to a close and the fans chanting “Let’s Go Finland” they were feeding off the cheering from the crowd.

Finland prevailed and pulled out the Gold Medal Championship and the last time they managed a win was in 2006 when they were back-stopped by Tuukka Rask when they won Bronze over the US squad.

As an added amount of excitement the fans were entertained as they watched three Canucks prospect Quinn Hughes, Tyler Madden and Toni Utunen who scored the O/T winner against Canada to put them on the side-lines.

It may have taken 13 years for them to pull off a medal win, but this time they did it in style.

Maxime Chaput (Canada),
Daniel Prazak (CZE) ,
Yevgeni Romasko (Russia)
Emil Yletyinen (Sweden)

The Finns will get to defend their Gold Medal in 2020 at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in the Czech Republic in Ostrava and Trinec.

Thanks to the volunteers as well as special thanks to Esther Madziya Communications Coordinator as well as Keegan Goodrich with BC Hockey   

Taste Of Victory