When Finland won the World Cup gold two years ago, it was as exciting as a team without NHL players entirely. This year, the Finns have only two players (Arttu Ruotsalainen and Olli Määttä) from the North American League, but they appear to be on track during the World Cup in Riga as well.
After their 2-1 win over Germany on Saturday, their fourth win in five matches, Yuka Yalonin’s men became the first team ready for the quarter-finals. The remaining matches against Latvia and Canada cannot be changed.
Finland dominated the match against Germany, but there was no easy hat-trick. Super talent Anton Lundell scored 1-0 in powerplay in the first half, but the Germans leveled the score in the second half via Korbinian Holzer.
And in the third half, Germany secured a superb position to take the lead, when Eero Pakarinen showed a very high club. But despite good pressure on the Finnish goal, the Germans did not score a hole in Josie Olkenora.
Instead, they took a cold shower once the numerical superiority was over.
Finland stormed into the central region and quickly changed hands when Anton Lundell came in for a duo with Arto Rutsalainen. Lundell put the ball on his back and sent excellently to Rutsalainen, who lifted 2-1 into the net.
Germany knocked out the goalkeeper in the final minutes, but Finland fought back.
With two games remaining, Finland leads Group B with 13 points, one point behind the United States.
Kazakhstan is in third place with 10 points (one match left) and Germany is currently in last place with nine points. Behind that, both Latvia (8 points) and Canada (6 points) still have a chance to advance.
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