Team Finland captured their second U20 title in three years after defeating Russia in overtime by a 4-3 score. As the scorer of the overtime, “Golden Goal” at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship in Helsinki, Finland, Kasperi Kapanen (TOR) joined countrymen Rasmus Ristolainen (2014) and Niklas Hagman (1998) as Finns that have secured the gold for their country at this event with an overtime marker.
While Kapanen’s heroics secured the gold medal for his country, it was the first line of Jesse Puljujarvi (2016), Sebastian Aho (CAR), and Patrik Laine (2016) that truly powered the Finns throughout the tournament. The trio finished 1-2-3 in scoring at this WJC, with Puljujarvi accumulating five goals and 12 assists for the scoring lead, as well as Best Forward and MVP honors. With 44 points between them, this line was as offensively potent as any first unit that has competed at any WJC.
The big winger Laine finished the tournament with seven goals and six assists in seven games, with his goal in the third period of the gold medal game being the one that got Finland going after two scoreless periods by the Finns.
Another Finnish 2016 prospect that turned in a good showing was Julius Nattinen. While he wasn’t as offensively prolific as either Puljujarvi or Laine, the solidly-built forward contributed a goal and two assists while compiling a +2 rating for the tournament.
Laine and Nattinen met with the media following Finland’s gold medal victory, with their comments being captured in this Hockey’s Future video.
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