TOLVANEN’S FOUR GOALS HELP FINNS TO PRELIM-ENDING WIN AT U17S
JASON LA ROSE
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Eeli Tolvanen was the story Tuesday afternoon, scoring four goals and adding an assist to lead Finland to a 6-3 win over Sweden in the preliminary round finale for both at the 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
The Finns finished the round robin with a 2-1 record, and wait for the result of Tuesday night’s game between Canada Red and Russia to find out who, when and where they’ll play their quarter-final on Thursday.
Sweden went without a win in the preliminary round, and will face the United States on Thursday.
It took just over six minutes for Finland to strike first; a weak wrist shot from Henri Jokiharju found its way through Swedish netminder Olle Eriksson Ek for an early lead.
Miro Heiskanen used his helmet to keep the puck in at the Swedish blue-line before feeding Tolvanen, who ripped a one-timer past Eriksson Ek to double the Finnish advantage on the power play at 17:47.
Just 24 seconds into the second period, Tolvanen’s wrist shot came off Eriksson Ek and onto the stick of Joni Ikonen, who poked the rebound home, and Tolvanen added his second at 12:13, finding a loose puck in a scramble in front of the Swedish goal and making it 4-0.
The Swedes refused to go away, though, and found the back of the net twice in quick succession to get back in the game; Timothy Liljegren got Sweden on the board only nine seconds after Tolvanen’s goal, popping the water bottle over the short-side shoulder of Finnish netminder Lassi Lehtinen, and Lucas Elvenes redirected a Sebastian Walfridsson shot past Lehtinen just 99 seconds later to make it a two-goal game.
But Tolvanen would strike again in the final minute of the middle frame, hammering in a cross-crease feed on the power play to finish his hat trick and send the Finns to the intermission up 5-2.
Goal No. 4 came just 29 seconds into the third as Tolvanen capitalized on a turnover in the Swedish zone and beat Eriksson Ek, who was under fire all afternoon; the Swedish netminder faced 38 shots.
Rickard Hugg added a consolation goal in the final three minutes for the Swedes.