What began so promising turned into heartbreak for the Finnish falling 3-2 to the Swedish conceding with four seconds in overtime.
Finland was the first to strike late in the first period on the powerplay. Anttoni Honka (Carolina Hurricanes) had his original shot hit the outside of the post, however, on his second attempt he could Patrik Puistola (Carolina Hurricanes) who knocked the puck by Hugo Alnefelt (Tampa Bay Lightning) to make it 1-0 to the Fins. But it was goaltender Justus Annunen (Colorado Avalanche) that was the hero in the opening frame.
The Finnish shot-stopper denied Sweden on many occasions from point-blank. His most significant stops came early in the first when he stopped Rasmus Sundin (Toronto Maple Leafs) twice on a clear breakaway.
Team Sweden found a way to beat Annunen early in the second frame, but it wasn’t in typical fashion. Nils Hoglander (Vancouver Canucks) made a gutsy play that panned out scoring a lacrosse style goal to tie the game up at 1-1 1:06 into the period.
Both teams exchanged chances but were denied by even more great goaltending from Annunen and Alnefelt. The boys in blue did regain the lead midway through the second frame. The puck bounced around in front of the Swedish goal after the original shot from Puistola. Kristian Tanus followed the puck in and took advantage of the opportunity giving the Finnish their lead back at the end of two periods.
Finland has its chances to close out the game in the third period but failed to capitalize.
Those missed opportunities came back to bite. Samuel Fagemo (LA King) jumped onto a huge rebound from Annunen to tie the game up at 2-2 with 5:09 to play.
In overtime, with Lassi Thomson (Ottawa Senators) in the box, an error from Annunen gave Sweden a game-winning goal. Alexander Holtz fired a shot of goal from the top of the faceoff circle. The shot deflected off the Finnish netminders’ glove and in to give Sweden a 3-2 overtime win.
Next up, Finland goes up against Slovakia on Friday at the Werk Arena.
Photo credit – Sportsnet