SWEDES WIN ALL-SCANDINAVIAN SHOWDOWN, BEAT FINNS FOR U17 BRONZE
JASON LA ROSE
SARNIA, Ont. – William Fällström scored the game-winning goal late in the second period, helping Sweden past Finland 3-1 in Saturday afternoon’s bronze medal game at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
The medal is the fifth all-time at the under-17 tournament for the Swedes; they won gold in 2013, silver in 1988 and 1997, and bronze in 2010 and this year.
Linus Weissbach and Oskar Steen joined captain Fällström on the scoresheet for Sweden, which scored once in each period and needed just 18 shots on goal to return to the podium after a one-year absence.
Filip Gustavsson had another strong start in the Swedish goal, finishing with 25 saves as his team was outshot 26-18.
Riku Sihvonen had the lone goal for Finland, which came up short in its quest to win its first U17 medal since 1998, and its first at a full-field tournament since taking silver in 1995.
The Swedes got the all-important first goal just 2:06 in; Weissbach walked out of the corner and let go a wrist shot that found its way through traffic, and up and over the far-side shoulder of Finnish goaltender Kimmo Rautiainen.
Fällström doubled the lead at 13:33 of the middle frame, taking a pass from Jesper Bratt on a three-on-one break and ripping a slap shot low to the blocker side of Rautiainen.
The Finns finally solved Gustavsson just shy of three-minute mark of the third period; Aapeli Räsänen dropped to Sihvonen, who rifled a wrist shot off the post and in past the blocker of the Swedish netminder.
But Steen got the lead back to two with six minutes to go, taking a shot that ricocheted off the back end of a Finnish defenceman and bounced past Rautiainen to give the Swedes breathing room and cap the scoring.
Both teams were stagnant with the man advantage; Sweden finished 0-for-5 on the power play, while the Finns went without a goal in four chances.