Game Summary

Finland 9 - Norway 1

Round Robin
Friday, December 30, 2005
20:00 PAC
Vancouver, BC
Pacific Coliseum

FINLAND PULVERIZES HAPLESS NORWEGIANS

By Lucas Aykroyd | Box Score

Early in Friday’s Finland-Norway game at the Pacific Coliseum, a leather-lunged spectator bellowed: “Let’s wake up, Norway!” The Norwegians obviously weren’t listening. The Finns led 7-0 after the opening 20 minutes, the biggest single-period offensive outburst of this tournament, and cruised to a 9-1 victory.

As a result, the winner of Saturday’s Switzerland-Finland Group A showdown will advance to the Final Round, while the loser will join the Norwegians in the Relegation Round. If there’s a tie, Switzerland will advance, having one more point thanks to its 2-2 tie with the USA.

Perttu Lindgren earned a goal and four helpers, Lauri Tukonen notched a goal and three assists, Aki Seitsonen scored two goals and an assist, Timo Seppanen added two goals, and Lauri Korpikoski had two assists to lead the way for Finland. Also scoring for the Finns were Juho Jokinen, Henri Heino, and Janne Kolehmainen.

“We had to win this game, so it was like a playoff game,” said Lindgren. “Tomorrow it’s the same kind of thing.”

“I said to [Lindgren] in the morning for him to wake up,” said Finnish Head Coach Hannu Aravirta. “He’s very skillful and played for the whole season in the Finnish League. He’s a very talented player, and hopefully he will go on tomorrow.”

Dennis Sveum replied for the Norwegians, who have lost all four of their Preliminary Round games.

Goalie Tuukka Rask made 16 stops to earn the win for Finland, while his mates fired 42 shots at Norwegian starter Ruben Smith and his replacement, Lars Haugen.

Norway didn’t record its first shot on goal until the 7:47 mark. The Finns would rack up a 24-1 edge in the opening frame.

Just 1:10 in, Finland’s Timo Seppanen opened the scoring with a long wrister from the left point that beat Smith, who didn’t seem to see the puck, high to the glove side.

The Finns went up 2-0 at 3:26 when Perttu Lindgren whacked in an Aki Seitsonen rebound from just outside the crease to Smith’s right.

At 8:49, it was 3-0 when Seppanen scored an exact replica of his first goal from the point. Norwegian Head Coach Petter Thoresen had seen enough and yanked Smith in favour of Lars Haugen.

But it made no difference. At 12:34, working with the man advantage, Juho Jokinen powered a slapper from the center point that went through traffic in front and through Haugen, giving Finland a 4-0 lead.

At 13:53, Jokinen fell over and twisted his knee by the boards near the faceoff circle to Rask’s right, and had to be helped off. He would not return to action. Doctors will evaluate his condition on Saturday.

Then the Finns struck for two power play goals.

At 15:30, Tukonen took a pass from Lindgren and knifed through the Norwegian defence, deking Haugen and slipping the puck between his legs to make it 5-0.

The Norwegians coughed up the puck tragically behind the goal line to Haugen’s right and in the confusion that ensued, Henri Heino banged in a loose puck while the goalie sprawled at 17:13.

With 1:28 left in the period, Lindgren centered the puck from behind the Norwegian goal line to Seitsonen, who caught Haugen going the wrong way and fired it in stick side.

“We had a really good attitude in the first period,” said Lindgren. “We did our best so we didn’t have to think in the second and third periods.”

A big cheer went up when Norway got its second shot on goal in the second minute of the second period.

But at 9:04 of the middle frame, the Finns extended their lead to 8-0 when Seitsonen’s shot from the top of the faceoff circle whizzed past Haugen.

Buzzing the Finnish net with Janne Kolehmainen off for interference, the Norwegians finally got on the board when Dennis Sveum whacked home a rebound at 15:10 with Rask sprawling. The sympathetic crowd cheered wildly.

With 38 seconds left in the second period, the Norwegians thought they had cut the Finnish lead to six goals, but it was ruled that the puck had been knocked in with a high stick.

Midway through the third period, Janne Kolehmainen made it 9-1 Finland when he roofed a rebound past Haugen.

Finland’s Player of the Game was Perttu Lindgren and Norway’s was Mathis Olimb.

“I think the whole tournament we’ve been playing better and better,” said Aravirta.

The game, which drew 10,766 spectators, started about 25 minutes late due to rink glass repairs after a pane was shattered during the warm-up.

The most lopsided score in World Junior history was Sweden’s 20-1 waxing of Japan in 1993, and in that game, the Swedes only led 3-1 after the first period.

PREVIEW: FINLAND - NORWAY

By Daniel Wilson

Finland: In a game featuring two teams whom Canadian fans vocally supported during games against the USA, it will be interesting to see which team the fans side with in this encounter. (It’ll probably be the underdog Norwegians.) Finland is coming off a tense 6-5 loss to the Americans on Wednesday, Dec. 28, which dropped their record to two losses. Depending on tonight’s outcome, the Finnish squad still has a great chance to qualify for the Final Round, as their remaining game on New Year’s Eve is against Switzerland. Finland’s six goals have come from five different players, with forward Aki Seitsonen leading the way with two tallies. Defenceman Tommi Leinonen and forward Leo Komarov have two helpers each. The Finns will need to bring a well-balanced game of strong defence and high-pressure offence to improve on their current 6-11 goal differential. They have only 51 shots on goal, including one shot apiece from highly touted forwards, Perttu Lindgren and Jesse Joensuu, and that needs to improve too. None of the team’s players have a positive plus-minus rating, with Joensuu at a team-worst -3. Komarov, having already accumulated 20 PIM, needs to show better discipline, physically and verbally. Goalie Tuukka Rask will likely return between the pipes, after backing up in Finland’s last contest. If so, the Toronto draft pick will have to play better than he did on Boxing Day against the Canadians in order to win back the confidence of Head Coach Hannu Aravirta. Finland is the favourite going into this game, and these guys will definitely need to score a big win to restore their bruised egos as they head into a tougher game with the Swiss.

Norway: The Norwegians enter the last game of their Round Robin with three consecutive losses, including an 11-2 thrashing administered by the USA. Regardless of their performance tonight, they will almost definitely end up in the Relegation Round, where they will have to fight to remain at the elite level for next year’s tournament. So fans of this squad should probably circle Tuesday, January 3 on their calendars. The team has only scored two goals so far in the tournament, allowing 17. Norway has been shut out twice, by Switzerland and Canada, so generating offence is obviously a top priority. Norway’s two goals in the tourney, both of which came on the power play, were scored by forward Mathis Olimb and defenceman Dennis Sveum. Olimb leads the Norwegians with 10 shots on goal, accounting for 17 per cent of their 56 total shots. On defence, the team has given up many good scoring opportunities. Defenceman Alexander Bonsaksen is a minus-6, while forward Mats Aasen is a minus-4. After enduring a penalty-filled game with Canada on Thursday, the Norwegians will have to keep their emotions in check and stay out of the box, as they’ve given up 32 shorthanded opportunities, leading to nine power play goals against. The one strong point for the Norwegians has been their goaltending. Despite giving up 17 goals in three games, the goalies have turned away 118 shots in that time. In fact, goalie Ruben Smith, who will likely start tonight for the team, has amassed an .897 save percentage. As usual, the forecast calls for a rain of pucks in the Norwegian end.

For more information:
André Brin Director, Communications | Directeur, communications