PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Man. – Mikko Lehtonen’s goal early in the second period held up as the game winner as Finland earned a 3-1 victory over Germany on Saturday night for its first win at the 2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
As the lowest-ranked team from a year ago the Finns were forced to play four games in four nights, five in five if you include an exhibition game against Ontario last Tuesday. They finished 1-3 for the second year in a row and will wait for the results of the final day of preliminary round action on Sunday to find out what place they will play for on Monday.
Germany opened the scoring on a Janik Möser power play goal midway through the first period, but Finland would pull even off the stick of Jonatan Tanus before the end of the opening frame.
A quick start to the second period put the Finns ahead for good; first, Lehtonen gave them their first lead at 3:33, followed by a goal from Jusso Ikonen on the man advantage just 2:21 later.
The Finnish defence took over from there, allowing the Germans just 11 shots in the final two periods, three in the third. Overall, Finland outshot Germany 29-16.
The Germans, still looking for their first win, conclude the preliminary round on Sunday when they take on Atlantic at the PCU Centre in Portage (3 p.m. CT).
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)