International Ice Hockey Federation

Finns shoot down Czechs

Finns shoot down Czechs

Kuokkanen's shootout goal saves the day

Published 14.04.2016 21:54 GMT-4 | Author Lucas Aykroyd
Finns shoot down Czechs
GRAND FORKS, NORTH DAKOTA - APRIL 14: Finland's Otto Somppi #24, Robin Salo #4, and Eeli Tolvanen #20 celebrate a first period goal against Czech Republic during preliminary round action at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship. (Photo by Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Finland blew a 3-1 first period lead, but came away with two points against the Czechs. Janne Kuokkanen scored the only goal in the shootout in a 4-3 victory.

The Finns, who won the silver medal in 2015, scored two power play goals in the first period en route to the win.

It was a reasonably successful debut for Finnish head coach Jussi Ahokas. The best coach for this Nordic nation's U18 squads in recent years has been Mika Marttila, who helmed not only the 2015 silver team, but also bronze-medal teams in 2009 and 2013.

Shots on goal favored Finland 47-29.

The Czechs last medaled in 2014, with a surprising silver. Prior to that, they took bronze in 2002, 2004, and 2006.

Eeli Tolvanen opened the scoring midway through the first period with the man advantage. But Filip Zadina promptly tied it up for the Czechs at 12:31.

Finland went ahead again less than two minutes later when Kristian Vesalainen scored. And with Czech forward Daniel Kurovsky off for holding, Emil Oksanen gave the Finns a 3-1 lead.

The Czechs had a great chance to get back in the game with a two-man advantage for 1:57 midway through the second. However, they failed to cash in.

But a two-goal cushion wasn't enough to guarantee Finland a victory. The Czechs worked hard and focused on puck control, and it paid dividends.

Radovan Pavlik brought the Czechs to 3-2 at 5:41 of the third on a Zadina set-up. The Czech bench rejoiced when Petr Kodytek knotted the score with 7:49 left.

Finland got a chance to win it in overtime when David Kvasnicka went off for holding with 10 seconds remaining, but nothing transpired.

The Finns will take on the Slovaks on Saturday, while the Czechs face Canada that day.


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