The win sends the Finns into the championship game against Russia, a team they have already faced once at this tournament. That prior game in the preliminary round went to Russia by a 6-4 score, a game in which the Finns led 3-1 before the Russian rattled off four straight second period goals an another in the third to secure the win.
One Finnish player that had some success against the Russians in that last game was forward Aleksi Saarela (NYR), who netted two goals in the loss. Saarela has provided secondary scoring for Finland at this WJC, posting four goals and two assists in six games.
A defensive pairing that has turned in a solid showing for the Finns is one that consists of Sami Niku (WPG) and Niko Mikkola (STL). While neither player has produced much in the way of points – Niku has a goal and an assist and Mikkola has an assist – both have posted +4 ratings for a team that is in the middle of the pack at this tournament in terms of goals allowed.
Saarela, Mikkola, and Niku spoke with Hockey’s Future after Finland’s semi-final win, conversations that are included in this HF video.
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