FINNS USE EARLY ONSLAUGHT TO DOWN BLACK, TAKE SEVENTH
JASON LA ROSE
SWIFT CURRENT, Sask. – Jere Virolainen led the way with two goals and an assist, six players scored goals and 15 recorded points to help Finland to a 7-4 win over Canada Black in the seventh-place game Saturday afternoon at the 2019 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Otto Mykrä chipped in three helpers for the Finns, who scored three goals in the first four minutes and five in the opening 20 to take control early before holding off Black late in the final game at the Innovation Credit Union iPlex.
Verner Miettinen got the scoring started just 95 seconds after the puck dropped, tapping in a cross-crease pass from Samu Salminen, and Otto Mykrä took advantage of a turnover in the Canadian zone to set up Virolainen just 15 seconds after that.
Atte Lehikoinen got a point shot through traffic at 3:31 to chase Canadian goaltender William Blackburn (Jonquière, Que./Jonquière, LHMAAAQ), who allowed three goals on just four shots before giving way to Ben Gaudreau (Corbeil, Ont./Sarnia, OHL).
Tomi Leppänen went low to the glove side to make it 4-0 at 10:46, and Viljami Juusola beat Gaudreau over the glove from the point on the power play at 14:55 to send the Finns to the intermission up big.
Blackburn returned to the Black goal for the start of the second period and his team dominated play; it outshot Finland 21-6 but could only get one goal closer.
Brandt Clarke (Ottawa, Ont./Barrie, OHL) got the middle frame started right for the Canadians when he redirected in a centring pass from James Malatesta (Kirkland, Que./Quebec, QMJHL) just 13 seconds into the period, and Max McCue (Sudbury, Ont./London, OHL) squeezed a shot through Finnish netminder Paavo Kohonen midway through the stanza.
But Samu Tuomaala pushed the lead back to four for the Scandinavians less than a minute after the McCue marker, lasering a wrist shot over the glove of Blackburn.
The Canadians looked set to mount a late comeback when Danny Zhilkin (Mississauga, Ont./Guelph, OHL) and Zach Dean (Mount Pearl, N.L./Gatineau, QMJHL) tallied just 24 seconds apart early in the third period, but Virolainen cleaned up a loose puck in front of the Black net to quiet the momentum and Salminen finished the scoring on the power play with under five minutes left.
Kohonen was terrific between the pipes, posting 41 saves in the win.