World Juniors 2016: Finland vs USA in the final

The host nation, Finland will play tomorrow’s final against Russia in the IIHF World Juniors 2016. Sweden and USA will battle for the bronze.

Finland eliminated Sweden

In the Nordic derby, Sweden got the early lead in the first period. So far so good. In the second period, the referees found a number of (questionable) penalties though and Finland could score both the equalizer and take a 2-1 lead. Sweden never got back to their game. The defenders did not find the ice to deliver the puck while forwards just made short visits in the Finnish zone. Finland defended themselves with relatively ease and Sweden did not create any clear scoring chances in the third period.

Russia 2-1 USA

USA was one of the favourites to winning the gold medal before the tournament. With stars like Matthew Tkachuk and Auston Matthews the hopes were high that they would go all the way this year. The only obstacle for reaching the final was Russia, who barely made it to the semifinal, scoring a late equalizer against Denmark and the deciding goal in the overtime of the quarterfinal. As Sweden did in the earlier semifinal, USA got the early 1-0 lead. As Finland did against Sweden, Russia scored 1-1 and 2-1 in the second period. Except for Sweden’s penalties, there were some similarities between the semifinals. After Russia’s goals USA’s offensive play broke down. They played a weak third period and Russia could defend themself without to much of a hazzle. Ilya Samsonov in Russia’s goal made some nice saves and they are now in the final of the World Juniors once again.

We have not been very succesful when it comes to predicting this year’s tournament, but what the heck, let’s try it. Team USA gets the bronze against an unmotivated Swedish team and Finland wins the gold at home. There you have it. Thanks and good night.

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