Finland state

World U-17 Hockey Challenge round-up: Finland, USA victorious with warm-up round robin

Finland routs Sweden

In a battle between two rivals, Finland managed to beat Sweden 6-3 to put themselves in a strong position for the medal round.

Finland climbed safely into second place with nine points, bolstered by Canada Black’s loss to the United States. Sweden are now fifth behind Canada Red, but they are still in contention for a medal with just days to go.

The first period was fast and furious, with three goals scored in under two minutes. Joona Saarelainen started having fun at 4:57 after taking Roope Vesterinen’s lead and quickly tapping it in for the 1-0 goal.

Just 33 seconds later, Karl Sterner responded with a tight angle shot, somehow finding an opening past Petteri Rimpinen. But at 6:38, Julis Miettinen scored from his own lousy angle, finding a slight opening near Hugo Laring’s left pad to put Finland back in front.

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The Swedes struggled to get quality scoring chances on the net, while the Finns took advantage of what they had. At 16:13, Emil Hemming passed the Swedish keeper to make it 3-1. Then, just 1:31 from the start of the second, Akseli Pulkkanen, who helped set up Finland’s opening goal, made it 4-1 to put the game away. Anton Olsson and Oscar Davidsson both scored for the Swedes in the final 22 minutes, but two goals from Roope Vesterinen sealed the deal for the Finns.

USA defeats depleted Canada Black team

USA moved to 5-0-0-0 with a convincing 6-1 win over Canada Black on Tuesday night.

Canada Black didn’t have Macklin Celebrini or Malcolm Spence – two of the team’s top forwards – as the team struggled with health issues throughout the tournament.

The Americans got in early with a shorthanded goal at 3:27. Kamil Bednarik beat Ryerson Leenders with a low shot he failed to control, giving USA the early lead. Teddy Stiga then doubled the advantage at 13:46 after converting on a good passing game between Max Plante and John Whipple.

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James Hagens came in with a tournament-leading 12 points and he was able to build on that at 27:32. After Cole Eiserman forced a turnover, Hagens went 1v1 with Leenders. But after being originally stopped, he managed a rebound to make it 3-0 in the United States. Lucas Van Vilet finished the period with a nice goal of his own with 1:23 left in the second, making it 4-0. Thomas Desruisseaux scored a chance created by a lucky rebound at 46:55, but Brodie Ziemer’s goal five minutes later and Hagens’ second of the night gave Canada very little to celebrate.

Canada White avoids collapse with OT win over Czechia

It wasn’t easy, but Canada White managed to hold on to their first win of the tournament after beating Czechia 6-5 in overtime.

It was a big rebound for the Czechs, who only scored two goals in the first three games. Canada White now have three points, while the Czechs are last with one, with both teams now having completed four games.

Canada White managed to strike first in a crazy six-goal first period. Jack Van Volsen made it 1-0 at 3:26 on the rebound after Justin Carbonneau was stopped on the initial chance.

The lead lasted four just under four minutes. Adam Titlbach passed the puck just over his own goal line to set Adam Martin Hlinsky up for the run. He found Adam Titlbach near the Canadian net and rolled him over to Madden Mulawka for the 1-1 goal. Adam Jiricek then gave the Czech Republic their first lead at 15:57, just before a late play-off by Canada.

Cayden Lindstrom (power play), Ryder Ritchie and Spencer Gill all scored for Canada in the final three minutes to give Canada a 4-2 lead, an advantage that seemed secure, giving Czechia trouble in the tournament.

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The Czechs swapped Adam Ebenstreit for Jakub Milota in the net for the second, and that seemed to breathe some life into the team. At 30:25, Ondrej Kos’ seemingly innocuous shot flew past the Canadian keeper and made it 4-3.

But just 22 seconds later, Bill Zonnon found the puck loose after Miguel Marques missed a chance to make it 5-3 in the Czech Republic. Before long, however, the Czechs found themselves tied at five. Lukas Kral scored with less than seven minutes left in the second, then Adam Jecho tied it at five at 44:10.

The game went into overtime, and it didn’t last long. Just over a minute into extra time, Canadian defender Henry Mews – who had just left the box after a penalty for tripping late in the third – forced a turnover before creating a breakaway of his own. He made no mistake on a wrist shot into the top corner, scoring the winning goal after Canada gave up several leads.

Three stars

  1. Roope Vesterinen, F (Finland): Vesterinen was a star at Langley, and a three-point performance helped him finish fifth in tournament scoring with seven points.
  2. James Hagens, F (USA): Again, an obvious choice. With two goals tonight, he is 14 points in five games. Colin White (18P in 2013) holds the tournament record.
  3. Ondrej Kos, F (Czechia): His goal helped change the course of the game for the Czechs. He finished with three points.