Pekka Rinne posted a shutout as Finland put together its first solid team effort of the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
After two losses to start the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, Finland rebounded with a 4-0 win over previously unbeaten Germany.
This was a first step back for Finland in trying to climb back into Playoff Round contention at this World Championship. The three points were badly needed at this stage of the tournament.
"After two losses we were ready to step up in this game," said Jori Lehtera. "We started strong and we played well for the whole 60 minutes. I think this game is a turning point. Sometimes you need to take a couple steps back to go forward again."
The last two times these teams met at the World Championships in 2011 and 2013, both games went to overtime before Finland prevailed.
Petri Kontiola got the Finnish offence cranking with a goal and assist and made sure that extra time was not needed for the victory.
As well, Pekka Rinne rebounded nicely after the opening night loss to Latvia in backstopping the win.
After Germany’s last game against Latvia, Pat Cortina spoke of the gradual improvement in Germany’s ability to get more shots going through on goal. But they were unable to consistently make that happen early against Finland. Three shots in the first period and 18 in the game was all they could manage.
Finland’s defensive coverage was better and their team play much more consistent than last game when after the contest, captain Olli Jokinen challenged his team to work harder and as a unit.
"Tonight we played as a team," said Lehtera. "All five guys on the ice were working together, playing smart. Pekka [Rinne] played really good in the net."
Finland started the game much better than their previous two. They were getting shots on net and high quality chances in key areas in front. Kontiola’s one timer founds its way into the back of the net. A pass from Lehtera was well timed by Kontiola as it rocketed past Rob Zepp.
"It's always nice to score but it doesn't mean anything when we go out in the next game and we have to work hard all over again," said Kontiola.
After having two strong chances vey early in the game, Jarkko Immonen was finally able to get on the scoreboard at 14:16.
Olli Palola and Leo Komarov added goals in the second period, which only padded what would be an already secure lead. Palola raced down the wing after taking a pass from Kontiola. His glove side score made it 3-0.
40 seconds later Komarov’s goal made it 4-0.
There was some back and forth action in the third but by that time Finland so controlled things and Germany was unable to generate a sustained attack to get a goal and work their way back.
Young Leon Draisaitl, who has been exceptional to date, was held off the scoreboard as the German forwards were kept relatively quiet.
Overall it was a much better start for Finland heading into their next match on Thursday against the home fans' favourite Belarus.
"Maybe it's a bit of a turning point, it's certainly good to get a smile back on our faces," Kontiola noted of the win. "We were a little frustrated after two losses."