First German WJC win ever over Finns!
by Lucas AYKROYD|27 DEC 2023
Germany's Veit Oswald (#13) scored twice in a 4-3 upset over Finland at the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship in Gothenburg, Sweden.
With a 4-3 upset over Finland, Germany made history in its 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship debut on Wednesday. It's the first time they have ever beaten the Finns at this tournament.

Returning forward Veit Oswald set the pace with two goals, including the go-ahead marker in the second period. German goalie Philipp Dietl shone with 40 saves.

"It's incredible," Germany's Luca Hauf told TSN. "I can't describe what I feel right now. I'm just proud of the group. We played such a good game.

Finland boasted a 25-0 record against Germany with a 141-31 goal difference dating back to the inaugural 1977 IIHF World Junior Championship in Czechoslovakia. However, this game turned out to be anything but a foregone conclusion.

The Finns outshot Germany 43-28, but remain winless and pointless through two games in Gothenburg. The Finns last won the World Juniors in 2019 (Vancouver) and are not regarded as a leading favourite this year. They have looked disjointed so far, including a 5-2 loss to defending champion Canada.

Germany's peak World Junior finish is fifth place (1981). Coach Tobias Abstreiter engineered sixth-place finishes in 2021 and 2022.

"Three points against Finland!" said Oswald. "Especially against Finland, for us it's amazing."

The Germans came out with great spirit, sparked by assistant captain Julian Lutz, a 2022 second-round pick of the Arizona Coyotes who joined the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers this season.

Finland was caught flat-footed. Coach Lauri Mikkola's boys took the first period’s only two penalties and got outshot 13-6.

Germany grabbed a 1-0 lead at 5:58 when Oswald jumped on a Finnish defensive zone turnover and then banged Eric Hordler’s rebound past goalie Niklas Kokko.

Tommi Mannisto got the 1-1 equalizer at 8:11. Busting through the neutral zone and taking a headman feed from Emil Hemming, the Michigan State attacker got in alone to beat Dietl on the forehand.

The Finns picked it up late in the frame, but were still lucky to escape with a 1-1 draw through 20 minutes.

In the second period, Oswald came achingly close to giving Germany the lead again. The EHC Munchen product raced in off the right side and zinged the puck off the cross bar.

The teams traded quick goals as the intensity increased. Kasper Halttunen put Finland up 2-1 at 1:27 with a short-side laser that beat Dietl high. The London Knights sniper led Suomi with 10 points at the 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship in Switzerland.

Just 45 seconds later, Niklas Hubner tied it up, converting Kevin Bicker's pass on the rush. Samu Bau then hacked a bad-angle rebound that bounced through the German netminder's pads for a 3-2 Finnish lead at 3:05.

The Finnish forecheck hemmed Germany in near the midway mark. But Germany stayed relentless and Kechter jammed a puck past Kokko's left post to make it 3-3 at 13:07.

At 14:38, Oswald gave his team the lead it wouldn't relinquish. He skated in off the left side and squeezed the puck past Kokko's arm on the short side.

In the third period, the Germans battled hard although outshot 17-5. Dietl stoned Lenni Hameenaho and Halttunen at close range with under 10 minutes left in regulation.

In the dying moments, Finland got a golden opportunity to tie it up when Lutz went off for slashing. They pulled Kokko for a 6-on-4 advantage, but there was nothing doing, and the Germans celebrated making history.