For the defending gold medalists from Finland, the possibility of relegation is suddenly real.
It is still unlikely, mind you. But a shock 3-2 loss to Denmark in yesterday’s World Juniors action made Finland winless after two games, stuck at the bottom of Group A.
And if that’s where they stay, at the bottom of Group A, they’ll have to face the bottom of Group B — Latvia or Slovakia, probably — in a best-of-three to avoid relegation.
“We should beat Denmark or we should at least score more than two goals with those shots or something,” said Finland captain Olli Juolevi, per Postmedia. “There’s no excuses.”
No excuses maybe. But without Jesse Puljujarvi, Patrik Laine, and Sebastian Aho, there are three good reasons why the Finns seem nowhere near as dangerous as the team that romped to gold in Helsinki a year ago. Denmark goalie Kasper Krog stopped 34 Finnish shots for the win. The Danes, meanwhile, managed just 10 shots total, but three beat Veini Vehvilainen.
The Finns take on Sweden Thursday and Switzerland Saturday. They lost their first game of the preliminary round, 2-1, to the Czech Republic on Monday.