AALTONEN GETS WINNER, FINNS BEAT RED TO OPEN U17S
JASON LA ROSE
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Leevi Aaltonen broke open a tie game eight minutes into the third period, leading Finland to a 4-2 win over Canada Red in the North Peace Arena curtain-raiser Sunday at the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Veeti Miettinen added a pair of goals for the Finns, who beat Red on opening day for the second year in a row; they posted a 3-2 victory last year in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
The Canadians had the lone goal of the first period; Alexis Lafrenière (Saint-Eustache, Que./Rimouski, QMJHL) found a loose puck in front before beating goaltender Kari Piiroinen from a sharp angle for a power-play marker, sending Red to the dressing room up 1-0.
Miettinen tied it for the Europeans less than two minutes into the second period, finishing a pretty feed from Antti Saarela, and made it 2-1 at the 12-minute mark when he snapped a quick shot past Canadian netminder Luke Cavallin (Greely, Ont./Flint, OHL) with the Finns enjoying a man advantage.
Red captain Peyton Krebs (Okotoks, Alta./Kootenay, WHL) got that back before the end of the middle frame, wiring in a shot from the top of the face-off circle to tie the game through 40 minutes.
Aaltonen put Finland back up for good at 8:04 of the third, making a move at the blue-line before beating Cavallin over the glove, and Anton Lundell found the empty net with 1:34 left to provide the final margin of victory.
Group B action continues Monday for both teams; Finland takes on Russia (2:30 p.m. MT), while Canada Red faces off against Sweden (7 p.m. MT).