FINNS FINISH ON A HIGH, BEAT CZECHS IN SEVENTH-PLACE SHOOTOUT
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – Kristian Tanus and Leevi Aaltonen scored in the shootout, Kalle Nurmi stopped all four shooters he faced, and Finland closed out the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge with a 2-1 win over the Czech Republic on Friday night in the seventh-place game.
It’s the third time in their last five trips to the tournament that the Finns have finished seventh, while the Czechs made their fifth-consecutive appearance in the seven-eight game.
After the first four shooters came up empty, Tanus made a quick move and went five-hole on Czech goaltender Lukas Dostal, before Aaltonen went between the legs as well on the Finns’ fifth and final shot.
Scoring in regulation time was sparse, with both goaltenders taking over through the first 70 minutes; Dostal finished with 26 saves, while Finland netminder Kalle Nurmi stopped 30 of the 31 shots he faced.
The only goals came 44 seconds apart early in the second period.
Finland got things started at 5:12, when Lenni Killinen floated into the slot and shoveled the rebound of a Karri Kapanen shot into the empty net behind Dostal, who had sprawled cross-crease to stop the initial shot.
But the Czechs replied less than a minute later; after cycling the puck down low for much of the shift, it was eventually worked back to the point and Tomas Dajcar, who went D-to-D to Libor Zabransky for a seeing-eye shot that beat Nurmi over the shoulder.
After a scoreless third the Finns had the best chance of the four-on-four overtime, only to have Nurmi turn away a two-on-one opportunity, one of his five saves in the extra period.
The Finnish goaltender stood tallest in the shootout, turning away Jakub Lauko, Vojtech Kropacek, Karel Plasek and Frantisek Klejna in succession, setting up the clinching goal from Aaltonen.