International Ice Hockey Federation

Finland crashes the party

Tournament hosts Switzerland fall in opening game

Published 18.04.2015 04:11 GMT+2 | Author Adam Steiss
Finland crashes the party
ZUG, SWITZERLAND - APRIL 17: Finland's Veini Vehvilainen #1 makes the save against Switzerland's Dominik Volejnicek #10 while Vili Saarijarvi #9 defends during preliminary round action at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship. (Photo by Francois Laplante/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Switzerland and Finland played out an entertaining game at Zug's Bossard Arena. Unfortunately for the local fans, the Finns played the spoiler in a 3-1 win.

The Swiss were in tough in their tournament opener against a Finnish team that looked strong the day before against the Czech Republic.

Finland scored first at 13:38 of the opening period. The Swiss defencemen were caught watching the puck as forward Patrick Laine brought it into their zone, sucking in the defenders along the left boards before finding a wide-open Jesse Puljujarvi with a centering pass for the 1-0 lead.

The goal seemed to wake up the Swiss attackers, who started to put more pressure on goaltender Veini Vehvilainen. Forward Nico Hischier missed a breakaway chance as his shot bounced off the goaltender's arm and sailed over the net. But the Swiss came back and tied the game with 6:53 to go in the first period, thanks to a beauty of a goal from their star player Denis Malgin, who came in fast from the side of the net and beat his defender with a lightning-fast dangle before slotting the puck past Vehvilainen.

Finland almost got back up when a breakaway chance by Aleksi Saarela hit the post on a backhand attempt, but the score remained 1-1 going into the second. However the Swiss had to open the period on the penalty kill, after Roger Karrer attempted to clear the puck out of the zone with less than three seconds to go, only to have the puck sail over the boards drawing a delay of game penalty. On the ensuing power play in the second period, a shot from the point from Villi Saarijarvi was deflected in front of the net by Laine giving Finland the 2-1 lead.

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Down 2-1 in the third period, Switzerland hamstrung its comeback attempt following a checking to the head penalty on Jonas Siegenthaler, who received a ten-minute game misconduct. Finland struck soon after on the power play. Finnish forward Aleksi Saarela streaked towards the Swiss goal and looked like he would attempt a wraparound. But instead Saarela made a great no-look backward pass that end on the stick of Vili Saarijarvi in the high slot, who fired it home for the insurance goal.

A late 6-on-3 for the Swiss, who pulled their goalie for the extra attacker with two minutes left and were gifted with two penalties on the Finns, still couldn't cut into the lead, giving Finland a 2W-0L start to its U18 tournament.

"With the home arena and the crowd we knew that Switzerland was going to play very solid and skate hard," said head coach Mika Martilla.

"Our goalie has only allowed two goals in two games and has been excellent so far, and now we have a good start and we need keep playing well in those tough moments."

Switzerland will face another tough test tomorrow against 2014 bronze medalists Canada, while Finland gets Latvia on Sunday.