They gave the hometown faithful some anxious moments on the final day of the preliminary round at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship, but Team Finland managed to pull out a win over the Czech Republic with two late goals to seal the 5-4 victory and a playoff round encounter with the defending WJC champs from Canada.
In what was a back-and-forth affair, Finland found themselves down 4-3 with a little over 11 minutes to play in the third period. But less than two minutes after the Czechs had taken the lead, Finland’s leading scorer at this tournament, Jesse Puljujarvi, knotted the game at four with a power play goal. Then, four minutes later, Patrik Laine netted the game-winner to send the faithful into the New Year on a happy note.
Forward Sebastian Aho (CAR) has been a part of a Finnish first line that has been an offensive juggernaut at this tournament. Aho is currently second in WJC scoring with three goals and nine points in four games, three points behind linemate and 2016 prospect Puljujarvi. Another 2016 prospect, forward Julius Nattinen, has posted two assists in a role on Finland’s second line.
Aho and Nattinen spoke with Hockey’s Future after the win over the Czechs, with their comments being captured in this HF video.
Game highlights from the Czech Republic-Finland matchup can be viewed below.
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