Finland – United States 4 - 5 (1 - 0, 2 - 3, 1 - 2) Game Sheet
INNSBRUCK – After coming back three times from a one-goal deficit, Team USA scored a pair of goals in the third period to win 5-4 against Finland. All three US lines scored in the game as the Americans outlasted the Finns in one of the more physical matches of the 2012 Youth Olympic Games.
The Americans snagged their first lead in the third period and didn’t let up. Ryan Bliss got the puck in the middle of the Finnish zone and made a backhand pass to Nick Schmaltz for his second goal of the game. His teammate Ryan MacInnis followed up a minute later when Shane Gersich fired on Finland goaltender Juuso Kannel, who gave up the rebound to MacInnis for the two-goal lead and the eventual game winner.
“Goaltending, defence, penalty kill, we definitely played our most complete game of the tournament so far,” said USA forward Jack Eichel.
Finland’s Kasperi Kapanen scored with 3:15 left on the clock to bring the game within one, but with a 5-on-3 advantage in the final minute (and a 6-on-3 in the last ten seconds) the Finns were unable to get the tying goal.
“We played ok, not the best hockey we’ve played in this tournament,” said Kapanen. “A disappointing loss to a great team, they put the puck to the net a lot and I think we backed down a bit, but we’ll bounce back.”
With Finland up 1-0 thanks to a first period goal from Joel Kirivanta, the game opened up in the second frame as both teams got physical, leading to some pushing and shoving after the whistle.
A minute and a half into the period Schmaltz skated around the Finland net, turned and fired the puck at the goaltender, who gave up a rebound to Adam Baughman for the tying score. After the US killed off a two-man advantage, goaltender Edwin Minney fell to the ice after a shot from Kirivanta, and could not get up in time to stop a rebound goal by Joni Tuulola.
Following a holding penalty on Otto Tolvanen, a breakdown in the Finnish zone allowed USA’s Jack Glover to skate untouched down the middle and fire a shot past Kannel for the easy tying goal. Finland responded again with a goal from Antti Kauppinen after the US gave up a three-on-one rush, but once more a US player (forward Blake Clark this time) was left alone in the middle of the Finnish zone to beat Kannel again with a low shot to tie the game up going into the final period.
“We played resilient, coming back a few times when we were down. We had a tough loss against Canada and a big game against the Russians next so we needed this win, said Eichel. “Going into the third our coach told us to play our own game, get the puck to the net and good things will happen.”
Team USA will have one final chance to sharpen their skills against Russia in the last preliminary match for both teams, while Finland likewise will play Canada in games that could be a preview to the semi-finals.Austria - Canada 0 - 9 (0 - 4 , 0 - 2 , 0 - 3) Game Sheet
INNSBRUCK – Two goals on their first two shots helped the Canadians cruise to a victory over Austria 9-0 in the preliminary round of the 2012 Youth Olympic Games.
“Good win today, we just need to keep going with our game the rest of the way,” said Canadian defenceman Ryan Pilon. “We came out strong from the wins today and against the States and we want to carry it over against Finland next.”
The game began with a seven-minute delay as Canada came out wearing the wrong jerseys. When the puck finally dropped, an early giveaway by Austria sent forwards Nicholas Hebert and Adam Brooks to the net on a two-on-none. Hebert made a smooth pass to Brooks, who slid the puck home. Just over a minute later Canada’s Nathan Yetman beat two Austrian defenders and dished the puck to Ryan Burton for the 2-0 lead.
A power play goal by Ryan Gropp and a marker from Eric Cornel gave Canada the 4-0 lead, and the team coasted the rest of the game with goals from Reid Gardiner, James Garrett, Reid Duke, and Pilon.
Assured of a spot in the semi-finals, Canada will play Finland on Wednesday in their final preliminary round game. Austria finishes their Olympic campaign with a 0W-4L record.
Pilon made no secret as to who his team wants to face in the semi-finals.
“Definitely want to get back at those Russians for beating us in the first game,” he said. “But whoever we draw we know that we’ll have to play our best.”