Close to 9000 dedicated hockey fans persevered through
the 20 centimetres of snow that has fallen on this
East coast city the past twelve hours or so and packed
the lobby of the Halifax Metro Centre, anxious for the
inaugural match-up of the 2003 World Junior
Championships between Team Finland and Team Germany.
Those in attendance saw the Finns get off to a quick
start with defenceman Jussi Timonen taking advantage
of his team’s first power play opportunity by opening
the scoring at 3:17 with a well aimed wrist shot from
the point beating a screened Dimitri Patzold top
corner. Just over a minute after Tomi Maki missed a
wide open net, the Finns, with the faceoff in the
offensive zone to the right of Patzold, added to the
score with the puck sliding to Jussi Jokinen who put
his team up by two.
Germany throughout the first period demonstrated a
very cautious style of play, often opting to slow the
game down by passing back and forth as opposed to
trying to pose any offencive threat. The Germans did,
however, dominate the physical play of the first
period, drawing the affection of the crowd.
This inspired the Finns to come out hitting in the
second frame, seemingly abandoning their game plan
from earlier which led to a lot less scoring chances
and being taken in by the Germans game and being
lulled to sleep. The highlights of the period came
from German goaltender Patzold who came up with
several key saves, particularly one on New York
Islanders first round choice Sean Bergenheim at 14:29.
At the other end, Atlanta Thrashers goaltender of the
future Kari Lehtonen was not to be outdone though,
having to be sharp on several occasions including on a
pass to a trailer on a German two on one 1 late in the
Scoring chances in the second may have been even, but
the Finns came back to life once again in the third.
The backbreaker came compliments of Bergenheim, after
which the Germans seemed to lose all momentum they had
in the second and early on in the third. Finland’s
second power play goal came at 16:49 after Tuomo Ruutu
effortlessly carried the puck the perimeter of the
offensive zone, handing it off to Jokinen who had time
to put it past a fallen Patzold for his second of the
Despite some noteworthy saves, Patzold fell to 0-1
while Lehtonen enjoyed his first shutout of the
tournament. Sean Bergenheim took home player of the
game honors for the Finns for his multiple point night
and Marcus Kink was given the honor for the Germans
who are back in action tomorrow versus the Czechs.
The Finns won 4 to 0 at the end of the game.