Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Press Release

VICTORIAVILLE, Que. – Jake Virtanen (Abbotsford, B.C./Calgary, WHL) scored twice in the first period and added the clincher in the shootout as Pacific held off a comeback attempt to earn a 5-4 win over Finland on Tuesday night and stay alive in the semifinal race at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
The overtime final means three teams – Finland, Pacific and Russia – enter the last day of preliminary round play on Wednesday tied at four points, although Pacific holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over the other two teams.

Ryan Graham (Calgary, Alta./Saskatoon, WHL) and Reid Duke (Calgary, Alta./Lethbridge, WHL) had the other goals in regulation, and Brayden Point (Calgary, Alta./Moose Jaw, WHL) joined Virtanen as shootout scorers for Pacific, which led 4-1 with 14 minutes to go before the Finns rattled off three goals in 6:13 to force extra time.

Brandon Hickey (Leduc, Alta./Spruce Grove, AJHL) finished with two assists, while Payton Lee (Cranbrook, B.C./Vancouver, WHL) turned aside 29 of 33 shots in regulation and overtime, then went two-for-two in the shootout.

Aleksi Saarela, Teemu Lämsä, Joel Kiviranta and Kasperi Kapanen scored the goals for Finland, which is trying to qualify for the semifinals for the first time since the 1995 tournament in Moncton, N.B., when it won silver.

Saarela opened the scoring at 8:55 of the first period, but the Finns found themselves in a two-goal hole less than three minutes later thanks to Virtanen’s two goals and one from Graham.
Pacific finishes off its preliminary round schedule Wednesday night when it faces West in an all-Canadian match-up in Victoriaville (7:30 p.m. ET), while the Finns take on Russia in the matinee at the Colisée (1:30 p.m. ET).

(Nathan can be reached at nathanfournier@mainehockeyjournal.com)

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