1.Saku Koivu’s not-so-little brother, Mikko, plays for Finland.
2.Finland plays a hard hitting in your face type of game
3.Czech Republic also plays a hard hitting style.
4.To watch out for a player by the name of Jiri Novotny.
So I went into the game with expectations of a hard hitting affair and lots
of scoring, well at least one of those expectations was right.
Czechs. Hitting and checking them off of the puck but the Czechs didn’t back
down. There wasn’t much scoring during the 1st period. One goal near the end
of the period by Finland’s Toni Koivisto. In the first period, the Finns outshot the Czechs
Semir Ben-Amor put the puck behind Czech keeper Jaroslav Hubl. But the Flyin
Fins weren’t done there. 31 seconds after that goal, Janne Jokila, Team
Finlands leading scorer, put another goal in. That spelt the end of the game
for Hubl. In came Martin Barek, who kind of reminded me of dominek hasek
with his full screen-cage helmet. The Goaltender change must’ve put a little
more gas in the tanks for the Czechs because after that they played like it
was life or death out there. The Finns just kinda let go after they built up
a 3-0 lead. At 12:16 of the 2nd period Tomas Plekanec put one past Finnish
goalkeeper Juha Kuokkanen, that marked the comeback. Soon after that goal
you could tell that the young Fins were getting frustrated, as they started
playing a chippier game. Nearing 5 minutes left in the period Frantisek
Lukes put one of his team high 3rd goals and 6th point of the tournament.
The Czechs had an excellent 2nd period. The shots were tied at 12 a piece.
three with all the excitement of the 2nd period carrying over. And it did
not dissapoint. 31 seconds into the 3rd, Frantisek Lukes was the recipient of a
“long bomb” pass and he was on a breakaway when one of the Finnish
defenseman took him down. Immediately the Referee pointed to center ice, A
PENALTY SHOT! The most suspenseful play in hockey. Lukes was gonna take it.
The Ref talked to both Lukes and Kuokkanen, then blew the whistle. Lukes
took the puck from center, while skating at a good pace, came up to the
finnish keeper, dropped his left shoulder, deked right and put the puck
between the keepers legs. But did it go in? We couldn’t tell until the red
light came on. Lukes had scored again. The last period was full of big hits.
Semir Ben-Amor and Tuomas Pihlman were hitting all over the place. Every
time they saw a Czech on the boards they Laid out a Czech. As the period wore
on you could tell that the Finnish team had used all their energy in the
first period coming out strong and trying to intimidate the Czechs. The
fins had nothing left in the gas tank. At 9:14 Peter Vampola scored on a
scramble out front to put the Czech Republic up for good. When the horn went
it was Czech Republic 5 and Team Finland 4. Also a notable event took place
at the end of the game when a Finnish player flipped the puck up in the air
and hit a Czech player in the back, this cleared the Czech bench and half of
the Finnish bench. No fights occured but a lot of pushing and shoving. The
Czech Republic outshot Finland 12-7 in the third period for a game total of 30-28
in favor of the Czechs.
Players that impressed me in the duration of this game:
#3-Tuuka Makela (DEF)– Very big stay at home type of defensemen. He played a
very solid game for the the fins
#4-Matti Kuusisto (DEF)– Very fast and smooth skater. Had a couple of good
offensive rushes during the game
#10-Semir Ben-Amor (LW)– He was the MVP of the game for team finland. He had
lots of hard hits and he scored a couple of times. Very hard nosed type of
player. Power forward type if you will.
#13-Mikko Koivu (C)– had an ok game. had a couple of highlights in the game,
one where him and another Finnish player collided at mid-ice and he also had
a great end to end rush that almost concluded in a goal. But after that he
wasn’t really that impressive.
#16-Toni Koivisto (RW)– Had an amazing game. very good stickhandler, has
incredible agility and speed. Had a couple points in this game as well. I
think he outplayed all the other finnish players in my opinion.
#20-Tuomas Pihlman (RW)– This guy can take the body. Every time he was on
the ice he laid a Czech out on his but and actually sent a couple of them
to the dressing room.
#23-Janne Jokila (LW)– Jokila had a solid game up front. Made some great
dekes on some slow footed Czech defenders and got some scoring chances. He
is a good puckhandler and has great agility
#30-Juha Kuokkanen (G)– Finnish keeper was playing a solid game all until
the finnish defenders stoped playing for him. Was very impressive in the 1st
and 2nd period but couldn’t do it all himself in the 3rd.
Team Czech Rep.
#19-Frantisek Lukes (C)– Lukes had a great game and was named the MVP for
the Czech Rep. Had two goals in the game. This guy has possible NHLer
written on him. He can skate, he can shoot, he is a very good agitator and
loves to take the body. He was the best player for the Czech Rep. today.
#25-Jiri Novotny (C)– Didn’t have an impact game but
you know he will be a star. He is big and strong. The Fins had a tough
time taking the puck away from him. He is only 16 years old but he sure
plays like he is older than that. He reminded me of a josef beranek/martin
rucinsky type of player. He needs time to develep, but when he does, people
better watch out because he will be a good one.