While Team Finland had displayed an impressive offensive performance prior to the semi-finals at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship, there were some doubts that the Finns could come out on top in a tighter-checking affair in their semi-final bout against a strong and determined Swedish squad.
But Finland showed that they can win it any way they need to, advancing to the gold medal game with a 2-1 win over Sweden in a game where they ourshot the Swedes, 28-22. Two goals a couple of minutes apart in the second period provided the difference for the Finns, with goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen (MIN) making that lead stand through the remainder of regulation.
Perhaps most impressively for the Finns, they did not rely on their top of Jesse Puljujarvi (2016), Sebasitan Aho (CAR) and Patrik Laine (2016) to get the job done. Instead, goals by Roope Hintz (DAL) and Antti Kalapudas (2016) led the Finns to their victory, along with some solid defensive play that mostly held a solid Swedish offense in check.
Rantanen and Kahkonen spoke with Hockey’s Future after the win, with their comments being captured in this HF video.
Highlights from the Finland-Sweden semi-final game can be viewed below.
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