RUSSIA HOLDS OFF FINLAND, TAKES FIFTH AT U17S
JASON LA ROSE
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Ilya Safonov and Egor Afanasyev scored goals in the first period and added assists later on as Russia earned a 5-4 win over Finland in the fifth-place game Friday at the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
With little on the line but bragging rights, both teams turned their offences loose – final shots on goal favoured the Russians, 39-37.
Safonov was first on the scoresheet, converting a centering pass from Sergei Alkhimov at 8:39, and Afanasyev stripped a Finnish defender and went to the short side over the shoulder of goaltender Tomas Keinänen for the 2-0 goal at 17:08 of the opening period.
But the Finns answered in the second, tying the game before the midway mark.
Anton Lundell was first, tipping in a Santeri Hatakka point shot just 94 seconds into the middle frame, before Antti Saarela roofed it past Russian netminder Vladimir Sartakov at 9:46 to bring the Finns even.
Momentum quickly shifted back to the Russians, though, with a pair of goals – from Danila Khulapov and Ilya Nikolaev – in the final five minutes of the period restoring the two-goal lead after 40 minutes.
Finland struck quickly in the third when Kalle Loponen ripped a point shot past Sartakov on the power play, but Matvey Guskov got that back at 7:43, going upstairs on Keinänen to make it 5-3.
Oskari Oksanen replied just 1:04 after the Guskov goal to again pull the Finns to within one, but that would be as close as they would get. Finland had multiple chances in the dying minutes, including a pair of power plays, but couldn’t find a fifth goal.
Sartakov was the difference in the third period, making 17 of his 33 saves in the final 20 minutes.