Two years ago, Juho Olkinuora was an unknown. After going 14-13 with a 2.78 goals-against average in 2011 for the Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL, the Helsinki native returned home to Finland empty-handed with no scholarship offers to play college hockey in the United States.
For North American hockey fans to understand Finland's seventh-place finish at the 2013 World Junior Championship tournament, all anyone has to do is think back to 2013 gold medal-winning USA's experience at last year's tournament in Western Canada.
The 2013 World Junior Championship tournament did not go as Team Finland had hoped, with that country playing in the relegation round and finishing a disappointing seventh. While winning a medal seemed like a daunting task for Finland given the amount of talent available to all of the teams this year, it was generally felt that the team would at the very least compete in the playoff round.
For hockey fans across the globe, the preliminary round of the 2013 IIHF WJC has been just about everything anyone had ever hoped for. There’s been no lack of tension, rivalries, intrigue and background stories that have come together to make this tournament the type that fans everywhere crave.
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