FINNS TIE IT LATE, BEAT RUSSIA IN SHOOTOUT
JASON LA ROSE
SWIFT CURRENT, Sask. – Brad Lambert and Verner Miettinen scored goals for Finland in the shootout, clinching a come-from-behind 5-4 win over Russia in Group B action Monday at the 2019 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
The Finns trailed 4-2 early in the second period and 4-3 in the final minute of the third, but Samu Salminen converted a centering feed from Lambert with 47.2 seconds left to force overtime.
In the shootout, Lambert answered Fedor Svechkov in Round 2, and Miettinen undressed Pavel Kanaev – who replaced starter Valerii Brinkman for the shootout – for a beautiful goal on the fourth Finnish shot before Paavo Kohonen swept the puck off the stick of Nikita Chibrikov on the final Russian attempt to clinch the extra point.
The win gives the Finns a small measure of revenge after falling 2-1 to Russia in the gold medal game a year ago in Saint John, N.B.
Offence came early at the Innovation Credit Union iPlex, with the two teams combining for three goals in a span of 97 seconds before the game reached the seven-minute mark.
Chibrikov got the Russians on the board first at 4:32, driving to the net and tucking a shot past Kohonen, but Topias Vilén jumped on a clearing attempt and beat Brinkman just 50 seconds later, and Viljam Sandvik forced a turnover behind the Russian net and set up Viljami Marjala to give Finland its first lead of the game at 6:05.
Svechkov pulled Russia even before the end of the opening frame, going low to the blocker side on Kohonen off a set-up from Danila Iurov.
Just as they did in the first period, the Russians struck quickly in the second; Vladislav Lukashevich roofed a shot through a maze of bodies at 3:46 to make it a 3-2 game, and Daniil Lazulin pushed the advantage to two with a gorgeous goal, dancing around a Finnish defender and slipping the puck around Kohonen at 5:15.
Miettinen got the comeback started for Finland midway through the middle stanza, roofing a feed from Lambert and setting up Salminen’s late heroics with Kohonen on the bench.
Despite the loss, Russia finished with a 41-30 advantage in shots, including 19-10 in the third period and overtime when they failed to beat Kohonen.
The Finns close out the preliminary round Tuesday night against Canada Red (7 p.m. MT), right after the Russians match up with Sweden (3 p.m. MT).