Team Finland has given the fans in Helsinki, Finland plenty to cheer about at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship, to the tune of 23 goals in four preliminary round games. Their tight, 5-4 win over the Czech Republic on New Year’s Eve sends the Finns into the quarterfinals against Canada, the defending champions and a country that is never an easy out in any hockey tournament.
Leading Finland’s offense has been their top line comprised of Jesse Puljujarvi, Patrik Laine, and Sebastian Aho (CAR). The trio sits atop the list of WJC scoring leaders following the preliminary round, with Puljujarvi leading all scorers with five goals and 12 points. In total, the trio has produced 12 goals and 29 points between them.
Laine and Puljujarvi are both eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft, and will no doubt see their stocks rise after this tournament. A more quiet contributor has been team captain Mikko Rantanen (COL), who has produced a goal and an assist in four games after joining the team shortly before the tournament began.
Rantanen and Laine spoke with Hockey’s Future after the win over the Czech Republic, converdations captured in this HF video.
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