Sweden defeats Finland to win U20 tournament

By Johan Nilsson

Finland was the better team, but thanks to excellent goaltending by David Rautio and two goals by Robert Nilsson, Sweden won its final game and the U20 tournament.

Sweden vs. Finland 2-1
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Goal ScorerAssistAssist
0-1Arsi Piispanen
1-1Robert Nilsson (2)Kalle Olsson ft”>
2-1Robert Nilsson (3) OT penalty shot

Shots:

26 – 42
PIM:10 min – 10 min
Top Swedish Scorer: Robert Nilsson, 2+0


Finns take over, after a strong Swedish start

There was strong pressure by Sweden from the start as Johan Harju had a wristhot on target two minutes in, after Red Wings prospect Mikael Johansson nicely entered the Finnish zone with great speed.

When the physical Finnish winger Matias Keränen was in the penalty box, Sweden organized their play well and Anton Strålman and Johan Fransson both had decent shots on goal, which however very steady goaltender Tuukka Rask handled easily.

After six minutes of play, it was time for Sweden’s goalie to make his first qualified saves as Arsi Piispanen released a dangerous backhand. A minute later, David Rautio made another good save when Ville Mäntymaa took the shot from the blue line. After a hot Swedish start, the Finns were now controlling the play and somehow Matti Uusivirta was all of a sudden alone with Rautio, but he once again made a fine save. The most creative Finnish line, Lauri TukonenPetteri NokelainenJesse Joensuu, had a great shift with five minutes remaining of the period, but could not put the puck past Rautio. The technically skilled Piispanen did however manage to beat the red hot Swedish goaltender after 18 minutes of play. He displayed some fine stickhandling skills fooling a Swedish defenseman with a nice move between his legs and then beating Rautio up high. Finland was the better team in the opening period and outshot Sweden 15-8.

Another spectacular goal by Robert Nilsson

Sweden started the second period just like they started the first, with good intensity. The Finnish defensemen had big problems handling Sweden’s top line, David FredrikssonCarl SöderbergLinus Videll, and Janne Kolehmainen took a crosschecking penalty. The Swedish power play was led by Söderberg, who saw a huge amount of ice time in this game, and Robert Nilsson stood out with some excellent plays. Loui Eriksson almost tied the game on a breakaway, but Tuukka Rask slid down and made a nice save.

The play during the next minutes featured two poorly executed man advantages, first for Sweden and then for Finland. After 12 minutes, one of the better players today showed his excellent puckhandling skills. With an excellent deke, Robert Nilsson rounded a Finnish defenseman and broke in from the right, releasing a wrist shot that Rask had no chance of saving. It was yet another beautiful goal by Nilsson who also scored spectacular goal on a breakaway against the Czech Republic.

Tukonen had some good scoring chances during the end of the period, but no more goals were scored.

Finland better in the third

Sweden was shorthanded as the third period started with Strålman in the penalty box. The Finns did not create much, and instead Linus Videll had the best scoring chance after receiving a nice pass from Söderberg. Rask managed to stop Videll’s shot, however.

Halfway through the period, Finland had most of the pressure again, forcing goalie Rautio to several big saves. Matias Keränen is a feisty player, but he is not much of a scorer which became evident as he could not put the puck past Rautio, being more or less unmarked in the slot and getting a second chance on his own rebound.

Characteristic for the remaining minutes of the third period was great intensity by the Finnish forwards and top-notch goaltending by Rautio. Finland was the better team, as they were for the most part of the game.

Overtime

Entering the overtime period the Finns were once again more aggressive than the Swedes, but there weren’t any major scoring chances. With only second remaining Sweden put on some heavy pressure, but the overtime period was scoreless.

Shootouts

1) Goal Finland – Petteri Nokelainen put the puck up high on Rautio who did not even have time to blink.
2) Goal Sweden – Daniel Åhsberg skated fast towards Rask, and then he slowed down and with a hard wrister placed the puck to the right of Rask.

3) No goal Finland – Nokelainen once again, but Rautio saved the penalty shot with a simple slide.
4) Goal Sweden – Robert Nilsson skated to the right, broke in and beat Rask with a wrist shot along the ice. A nice goal and his second one of the game.

To sum it up, Finland played their best game of the tournament, while the Swedish players looked better against Russia and the Czech Republic. Finland was quite clearly the better team and had more quality scoring chances, but thanks to superb goaltending by David Rautio Sweden won the game.

Player notes – Finland

G – Tuukka Rask
Rask has been very good in the tournament and displayed great calmness today. He was not overly spectacular, but makes difficult saves look easy. He had good rebound control.

D – Ville Mäntymaa
The most noticeable Finnish defenseman, Mäntymaa looked good on the power play all tournament long, being very willing to use his slap shot. He played a simple and safe game.

D – Otto Honkaheimo
Honkaheimo combined a strong offensive game with smart defensive decisions and had a strong tournament overall.

F – Matias Keränen
The most aggressive Finnish player today, Keränen had a few nice hits, but his offensive game was mediocre at best.

F – Jesse Saarinen
Saarinen showed good intensity and work ethic. He had a few decent scoring chances.

F – Lauri Tukonen
Tukonen was named the top Finnish player of the game, although Rask probably deserved those honors more. Like in all games in the tournament, Tukonen displayed strong skating and puckhandling skills.

F – Petteri Nokelainen
Nokelainen received the award for most valuable Finnish player in the tournament and skated hard in this game as well. A very complete player that was more spectacular than Tukonen, and excellent on the penalty-killing unit.

F – Teemu Nurmi
Nurmi was skilled with the puck and appeared to be strong, as he stood out up very well when the Swedish defensemen got physical with him.

Player notes – Sweden

G – Christopher Heino-Lindberg
Did not play.

G – David Rautio
Another incredible performance by the best goaltender in the tournament. Rautio made 41 saves, including several big ones. He was not awarded top Swedish player of the game, but was named the Swedish MVP of the tournament.

D – Nicklas Grossman
Another solid game by Grossman, he was the best defensive defenseman on the team and by far the most physical. Grossman displayed terrific leadership skills throughout the tournament.

D – Ola Svanberg
Svanberg was much better in the games against Russia and the Czech Republic. He had several minor defensive mistakes and his passes weren’t as sharp.

D – Johan Fransson
Fransson had a strong first period, but was less noticeable in the second and third period. He had a good defensive game.

D – Oscar Hedman
Warmed the bench.

D – Alexander Täng
Warmed the bench.

D – Niklas Andersson
Arguably the best defenseman tonight, Andersson was not as physical as against the Czech Republic, but displayed impressive calmness with the puck in his own end.

D – Anton Strålman
Strålman was inconsistent in this game. He looked good offensively, but had some problems at times with the speedy Finnish forwards.

D – Elias Granath
Granath did not look that good against Russia, but was better today. He played a fairly good two-way game, but seemed to struggle a bit along the boards and in the corners.

F – David Fredriksson
Fredriksson played his game of the tournament and was very good on the forecheck. He skated much better than in the previous games and had a few good scoring opportunities as well.

F – Carl Söderberg
It looked like Söderberg was on the ice the entire time. He must have played close to 30 minutes, receiving a huge amount of ice time both on the power play and in shorthanded situations. He was not overly flashy, but his work ethic was first-class and he had good chemistry with Fredriksson and Videll.

F – Linus Videll
Videll was good against the Czech Republic and even better in this game. He killed penalties with great success and was creative in the offensive zone.

F – Daniel Åhsberg
His hands and technical skills made him stand out as usual, although the Åhsberg’s line was not as successful as in the previous games. He is much underrated defensively.

F – Linus Persson
Persson did not get much ice time and did not stand out offensively. Defensively he did his job well.

F – Loui Eriksson
Most Swedish forwards had better games in the tournament and the same goes for Eriksson. He had a few quality scoring chances including a breakaway, but was not too noticeable.

F – Johannes Salmonsson
Did not play.

F – Mikael Johansson
Saw too little ice time to be judged.

F – Nicklas Bergfors
Bergfors worked hard as usual, but the Finnish defensemen did not have any major problems controlling him along the boards, where he often was with the puck.

F – Robert Nilsson
The best Swedish forward offensively, Nilsson scored both of Sweden’s goal and showcased the best puckhandling skills tonight.

F – Kalle Olsson
Olsson skated very well and seems to be a good fit with the more flashy top prospects Nilsson and Bergfors. He showed heart and great attitude.

F – Johan Harju
Saw limited ice time, but had a decent shot on goal in the first period and backchecked fairly well.

Five Swedish stars of the game
***** David Rautio
**** Carl Söderberg
*** Robert Nilsson
** Niklas Andersson
* Linus Videll

Tournament Results
Czech Republic vs. Finland 1-2
Russia vs. Sweden 1-4

Finland vs. Russia 4-5
Sweden vs. Czech Republic 5-0

Russia vs. Czech Republic 2-1
Sweden vs. Finland 2-1 (OT)


Standings
1. Sweden, 8pts
2. Russia, 6pts
3. Finland, 4pts
4. Czech Republic, 0pts



Official tournament awards:

Most Valuable Player – Sweden
David Rautio

Most Valuable Player – Russia
Denis Parshin

Most Valuable Player – Finland
Petteri Nokelainen

Most Valuable Player – Czech Republic
Michal Polak




Top 5 scorers

1. Robert Nilsson, Sweden (3 goals, 1 assist)
2. Loui Eriksson, Sweden (3 goals)
2. Enver Lisin, Russia (3 goals)
4. Daniel Åhsberb, Sweden (1 goal, 2 assists)
5. Arsi Piispanen, Finland (1 goal, 1 assist)




Top goaltenders (more than one game played)
1. David Rautio, Sweden (GAA: 0.96, SVS%: .971)
2. Tuukka Rask, Finland (GAA: 1.44, SVS%: .943)
3. Tomas Sturala, Czech Republic (GAA: 1.52, SVS%: .954)




Most shots on goal

1. Petteri Nokelainen, Finland (16 shots)
2. Lauri Tukonen, Finland (14 shots)
3. Michal Borovansky, Czech Republic (13 shots)
4. Evgeni Malkin, Russia (12 shots)
5. Daniel Åhsberg, Sweden (9 shots)
Milan Hluchy, Czech Republic (9 shots)
Bedrich Kohler, Czech Republic (9 shots)
Teemu Laakso, Finland (9 shots)

Copyright 2004 Hockey’s Future. Do not duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.