Vladislav Sukhachyov had 31 saves and six separate players scored a goal as Russia earned a birth in the World Under-17 Challenge gold medal game thanks to a 6-1 victory over Finland.
The Russians had quite the start, scoring two goals before the game was even five minutes old. Dmitri Alexeyev’s point shot at 2:49 beat Finnish netminder Leevi Laakso between the pads, securing the 1-0 lead. Maxim Bain doubled the lead just 80 seconds later, and while it was unknown to the players at the time, it would prove to be the game winning goal.
Six minutes into the game, Emil Oksanen recorded Finland’s first and only goal of the game, knocking in a power play goal from in close to cut the lead in half. The Finnish momentum didn’t last for long, as Vitali Abramov scored ten minutes in to make it 3-1 for the eventual victors. The goal would prove to be the end for Laakso, who allowed three goals on just five shots to start the game.
Russia had a great second period, scoring two goals to continue the rampage. First, Vyacheslav picked up a rebound left by new Finnish goalie Kimmo Rautiainen to make it 4-1. Less than two minutes after that, Dmitri Sokolov finished off a beautiful passing play between the line mates, giving his team the 5-1 lead heading into the third.
Finland were the much better team in the third. Leading the two teams in shots during the third (14-5), the team in blue and white peppered Sukhachyov with great scoring chances but came out empty handed each time. Russia, on the other end, got a sixth goal from Nikita A. Popugayev, who completed the onslaught with under two minutes remaining.
With the victory, Russia will face USA in the finals on Saturday night (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN2). Finland will face their longtime Scandinavian rivals from Sweden in the bronze medal game on Saturday afternoon (1 p.m. ET, TSN), hoping to grab just their fourth World Under-17 medal in the history of the tournament.
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