Fort St. John, B.C.
FINNS PULL AWAY, BEATS SWEDES TO FINISH U17 PRELIMS
JASON LA ROSE
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Patrik Puistola had a goal and two assists – all in a four-goal third period – and Finland scored six times unanswered in the final 30 minutes for a 6-1 win over Sweden in the final preliminary-round game for both Tuesday at the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
The Finns closed the round robin with two wins in three games, and will wait for the result of the Canada Red-Russia game later in the day to find out who and when they’ll play in the quarter-finals Thursday.
The lone goal of the first period came courtesy of the Wahlgren twins, with Joel setting up Max for a one-handed poke through the legs of Finnish netminder Kari Piiroinen to put the Swedes up 1-0 after 20 minutes.
Henri Nikkanen answered for the Finns midway through the second period, jumping on a turnover in the Swedish zone and beating goaltender Hugo Alnefelt from a bad angle, and Wiljami Myllylä buried a centering pass from Santtu Hakanen at 18:18 to send Finland to the dressing room with its first lead.
The Finnish offence continued to roll in the third period, racking up 21 shots.
Puistola added insurance at 8:35 on the power play, surprising Alnefelt with a quick shot that found the five-hole, and he set up Mikko Petman less than three minutes later, with Petman knocking in a rebound for a 4-1 lead.
Nikkanen got his second of the game with six-and-a-half minutes left, finding a loose puck in the slot and beating Alnefelt, before Anton Lundell added a sixth with 4:36 remaining to provide the final margin of victory.
Sweden finished the preliminary round winless, having been outscored 17-4 in three games. It will travel to Dawson Creek to face the winner of the Canada Black-United States game in its Thursday quarter-final.