In a thrilling gold-medal game today in Helsinki, Finland completed its storybook World Juniors tournament with a 4-3 overtime victory over Russia.
The hosts very nearly blew it, surrendering the tying goal with just six seconds remaining in regulation. But a terrific individual effort by Kasperi Kapanen (Maple Leafs) won it early in sudden death.
From the IIHF:
In the Russian zone, Aleksi Saarela found Kapanen, who eluded defenceman Sergei Boikov and circled the net to score on a wrap-around as goalie Alexander Georgiev lunged haplessly with his stick.
This is Finland’s fourth World Junior gold medal of all time. They also won in 1987, 1998, and 2014. They have now earned gold at two out of the last three tournaments.
On the way to beating Russia, the Finns defeated the defending gold-medalists from Canada in the quarterfinals, then they took out their rivals from Sweden in the semifinals.
Finland’s Jesse Puljujarvi was named the top forward and MVP of the tournament. Just 17 years old, Puljujarvi is draft eligible in 2016.
USA’s Zach Werenski (Columbus) was named the top defenseman. Sweden’s Linus Soderstrom (Islanders) was the top goalie.