Finland will move on to the quarter-finals following an important 2-0 win against Germany on Wednesday.
For Finland, this game meant more then anything. The 2014 World Junior champions, Finland is hosting the 2016 World Juniors, and getting relegated could have meant that they would end up losing the event. The team last played in the relegation round in 2013, a year before they won it all in Sweden last year.
With that in mind, Finland began the game strong. With three minutes off the clock, Dallas Stars prospect Julius Honka scored on a nice wrist shot that beat Thomas Reich to make it 1-0 Finns. It was a big moment for Honka, who had a -2 rating after three games with the team.
The first period was totally dominated by the Finns. The favourites in the contest had 17 shots to Germany’s three in the first period alone, peppering Reich with shots from every angle. Reich had some good moments against Canada earlier in the tournament before eventually allowing four goals in a loss to the hosts.
The Finns kept pressing and pressing and eventually, a beautiful tip in front by Mikko Rantanen gave Finland their first two goal game of the tournament. The original shot came from Aleksi Mäkelä, but without Rantanen’s tip in front, the puck would have missed the net completely. The goal came on Finland’s 28th shot of the game, leading 28-7 with six minutes to go in the second period.
One of the biggest issues for Finland’s scoring struggles were due to the power-play. The team, that scored important goals when it mattered most in 2014, had zero goals on 16 opportunities with the man advantage, something that really burned them in lose games against Slovakia and USA. Regardless, the 2-0 lead was good enough for the team to hold, defeating Germany to advance to the quarter-finals against Sweden, while leaving Germany to play Switzerland in the relegation round.
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