Finland wins unlikely WC gold with 3-1 win over Canada
A lot of NHL players does not necessarily equal World Championship success.
Finland proved that, and the final piece of evidence was a 3-1 win over Canada on Sunday to win the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship gold medal in Bratislava, Slovakia.
The Finns had only two NHL players – Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Henri Jokiharju and Florida Panthers forward Juho Lammikko – while the Canadians’ entire roster was made up of NHL players.
Kevin Lankinen made 43 saves to backstop his country to the gold medal win. Captain Marko Anttila had two goals for Finland on Sunday after scoring the lone goal in the 1-0 semifinal win over Russia on Saturday. Harri Pesonen also scored on Sunday.
“We played together, played 60 minutes,” Toni Rajala said on the IIHF website. “Kevin was awesome in the net;, we were blocking shots. They were good today, but we were a little bit better. Three goals was enough."
It was Finland’s third World Championship gold medal.
"It’s an amazing feeling," added Jere Sallinen "I don’t even know how we won; it’s unbelievable. We’re a pretty good hockey country. Maybe it’s a miracle on ice, something like that. Going back to Helsinki is going to be amazing. I think there’s a lot of people waiting there for us. Anttila – he’s a beauty."
Shea Theodore got silver medalist Canada’s lone goal, and the Red Wings’ Anthony Mantha had an assist to finish the tournament with seven goals and 14 points in nine games. He was tied for second in goals in the tournament and second for Canada to Mark Stone’s eight. Stone also had 14 points to tie Mantha for the team lead and was the tournament’s most valuable player.
"It was a long tournament, a lot of fun, a lot of good guys," said Canadian defenseman Damon Severson. "I think we deserved a medal. We had some spells where maybe we didn’t, but overall we played a really good tournament. It’s unfortunate we got the wrong medal.
“Finland played a good game, the only team to beat us in this tournament was them, twice (the first, also 3-1, in the opening game), and they played some good hockey. It’s unfortunate we’re not going home with gold."
Russia defeated the Czech Republic 3-2 in a shootout in the third-place game to win the bronze medal on Sunday. Ilya Kovalchuk and Nikita Gusev scored in the shootout for Russia.
Andrei Vasilevskiy made 48 saves and stopped all four shootout attempts, including one by Detroit defenseman Filip Hronek.
He was named the World Championship’s best defenseman and led all defensemen with 11 points (three goals and eight assists) in 10 games.
Russian teammates Nikita Kucherov and Vasilevskiy were named the best forward and goalie, respectively, in the tournament.
Canada beat the Czech Republic 5-1 and Finland shut out Russia 1-0 in Saturday’s semifinal games.
Stone had a goal and an assist for Canada, which also got an assist from Mantha. Lankinen made 32 saves in posting the shutout.
The 2020 International Ice Hockey Federation U18 Men’s World Championship will be held at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube Arena, the IIHF announced.
The Ann Arbor Ice Cube was the home of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program from its inception in 1997 until 2016, when it moved to Plymouth and the USA Hockey (formerly Compuware) Arena.
… Livonia native Mike Modano was among those inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame on Sunday.
Modano is the all-time leader among American-born players in NHL goals (561) and points (1,374) and was already a member of the Hockey and U.S. Hockey Halls of Fame. He was recently hired as an advisor for the Minnesota Wild.
Also inducted were Canadian Women’s legend Hayley Wickenheiser, Sweden’s Jorgen Jonsson and Slovakia’s Zigmund Palffy and Miroslav Satan.