International Ice Hockey Federation

Finns double up on Slovaks

Finns double up on Slovaks

Three-point night for Vesalainen keys victory

Published 16.04.2016 23:42 GMT-4 | Author Lucas Aykroyd
Finns double up on Slovaks
GRAND FORKS, NORTH DAKOTA - APRIL 16: Finland's Juuso Valimaki #6 celebrates a first period goal against Slovakia while Slovakia's Erik Rajnoha #16 and Michal Ivan #21 look on during preliminary round action at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship. (Photo by Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Finland outshot Slovakia 32-16 in a 4-2 win at the ICON Sports Centre. It was Finland’s second straight win and first in regulation at this U18 tournament.

However, in addition to outshooting and outscoring the Slovaks by a 2-to-1 margin, the blue-and-white team also took 16 minutes in penalties to Slovakia's eight, an area they'll have to work on moving forward.

Kristian Vesalainen led the way for Finland with a goal and two assists, while Aapeli Rasanen also starred with a goal and a helper.

The Finns haven't captured U18 gold since winning U18 titles in 1999 and 2000. They were second behind the United States last year.

Slovakia beat Denmark 5-4 in its opener, but couldn't keep up with the Finns in this one.

Rasanen gave Finland a 1-0 lead at 13:20. The Slovaks had a brief two-man advantage at the end of the first, but failed to cash in.

At 2:02 of the second period, Vesalainen notched his second of the tournament to make it 2-0.

However, the Slovaks got back in the game after Janne Kuokkanen, the shootout hero in the opening 4-3 win over the Czechs, took a goalie interference penalty. Samuel Bucek made it 2-1 on the ensuing power play at 8:24.

Just over four minutes later, Otto Maskinen stretched Finland's lead to 3-1.

But the Slovaks weren't quitting. Adam Ruzicka finished off a 2-on-1 break to cut the deficit to 3-2 at 14:01.

In the third period, Kuokkanen atoned for his earlier misstep when he restored Finland's two-goal edge with 7:19 left.

The Finns get right back it on Sunday against Denmark. Slovakia's next challenge is Canada on Monday.


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