Friday, August 9, 2013

Finns rally late & take 5th place on shootout win

Press Release

Despite the heartbreaking way they lost their birth in the semifinals--by losing their last two group games in shootouts and being on the wrong side of the dividing line in a three-way tie--the Swiss came out the more energetic team in this game for fifth place.

They got the early chances but the Finns got good goaltending from Joona Voutilainen, who was making his first start of the tournament. Just past the five-minute mark, he was under pressure when Sin Schlapfter tried to slip a wraparound past him and Kris Smidl tried to jam it in right after.

The Finns ran into some penalty trouble though when Antti Kauppinen closed his hand on the puck in the neutral zone and then, after forcing a faceoff in the attacking zone with 3 seconds left in that penalty, Teemu Lamsa hacked at the arm of Swiss goaltender Kevin Fehr and was went off. With the faceoff moved to the Finnish zone and a brief two-man advantage, the Swiss went to work and Edson Harlacher opened the scoring.

In a slumber for much of the first period, the Finns started to wake up late in the period and almost tied the game when defenceman Sami Niku sent Mikko Rantanen in alone. Fehr made a great pad save, but Rantanen would get his revenge later.

The Swiss again spent much of the early part of the second period on the power play and got their second goal in the 25th minute when Tobias Klopfer banged home a loose puck after it initially looked like Voutilainen had it covered. The Finns got one back six minutes later, though, on a similar play, when Rantanen managed to force the puck across the line after it looked like it was covered.

When

Pius Suter restored Switzerland´s two-goal lead with 10:22 left in the third period, it looked like the Swiss were poised to claim fifth place, but the Finns still had some life, and it was Rantanen who provided the spark.

A minute after the third Swiss goal, the Finns went to the power play and Rantanen and Lasma moved the puck well and found Juho Lammikko at the far post for the tap-in. Then with 2:34 to play they tied it--Rantanen led a rush into the Swiss zone and found Walterri Hopponen with a pass, who in turn beat Fehr with a beautiful wrist shot just inside the post.

After a scoreless five-minute overtime period, the game went to a shootout, and Mikko Rantanen was the only shooter to score--slowing down and then beating Fehr upstairs. With four points, Rantanen takes over the tournament´s scoring lead with 9 points. As for the Swiss, they had lost in a shootout for the third straight game and have to settle for sixth.
 
 (Nathan can be reached at nathanfournier@mainehockeyjournal.com)

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