ZURICH-KLOTEN – Finland wasted almost no time in establishing their game with a 5-0 victory over Norway. Pekka Rinne made 30 stops for the shutout. Finland played their usual stifling style of defence while Norway found it difficult to stay out of the penalty box.
Antti Mietinen scored the game winner in the first period.
"This was a good result for us," said Niko Kapanen. "We were the better team and ready to play. It was good we scored early."
The tempo was far from back and forth. Finland controlled most of the action and kept pressure squarely focused in Norway’s end of the ice. For Roy Johansen's team discipline was a problem on the day. Penalties would be Norway’s undoing in this game.
At 12:16 of the first Juha Kaunismaki was called for interference allowing Finland to set up its first power play of the afternoon. Miettinen responded with a goal at 13:44 to put his team on the scoreboard. Niklas Hagman got the lone assist.
"We expected a lot of penalties and a tight game but our power play was good for us today," said Miettinen.
When Mads Hansen was caught hooking, Jarkko Immonen scored to make it 2-0. Niko Kapanen would add another power play goal in the period.
For Immonen it was his first World Championship goal in his debut game.
Mika Pyörälä added a middle frame goal and Mikko Lehtonen another in the third en route to a 5-0 win in their opening game of the 2009 IIHF World Championships.
Pyörälä, a fourth liner, scored his first goal in 18 games of World Championship competition.
Norway would get a few chances with the best coming in the third but throughout Finland’s close quarter defence kept most of the shots on the periphery, allowing Rinne to see the shots coming his way.
Near the end of the game, Norway showed its frustration and things were a little more intense than they had been. Several scrums saw players jawing back and forth after the whistle.
The game marked the 14th time that defenceman Petteri Nummelin has represented Finland at the World Championships. It’s a run that’s included a gold, four silver, two bronze.
"It is always a bonus when you have a player like him on the team," said Miettinen. "Every year he is one of the top defensemen in the tournament. He is a real leader for us."
On Monday, Norway takes on the Czech Republic while Finland faces Denmark.