SWEDES RIDE BIG SECOND PERIOD TO WIN OVER FINNS
JASON LA ROSE
SWIFT CURRENT, Sask. – Fabian Lysell scored a hat trick, including the game-winning goal early in the third period, and Sweden scored four times in the second en route to a 6-4 win over Finland in the tournament opener for both Sunday at the 2019 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Victor Stjernberg added a goal and an assist for the Swedes, who downed their Nordic neighbours in the preliminary round for the second year in a row and third time in four years.
The Finns held a 14-9 advantage in shots in the first period and struck for the lone goal when Verner Miettinen snapped in a feed from Viljami Marjala for a power-play marker just shy of the seven-minute mark.
Both teams cranked up the offence in a six-goal second period.
Sweden needed just 91 seconds to turn a deficit into a lead; Marcus Limpar Lantz jumped on a turnover in the offensive zone and finished a 2-on-0 down low to tie the game at 2:08, and Lysell beat Finnish goaltender Juuso Helomaa low to the glove side at 3:39.
But the Finns responded with a pair of goals of their own, from Samu Salminen and Samu Tuomaala, to take back the lead at 3-2 before the middle frame was nine minutes old.
Simon Robertsson continued the back-and-forth stanza with a goal at 10:50 to get the Swedes back even, tucking in a backhand, and Lysell rifled a shot far-side on Helomaa for a man-advantage marker just over two minutes after that to send the Swedes to the dressing room up 4-3.
The hat trick was complete four minutes into the third period when Lysell toe-dragged into the slot and beat Helomaa past the blocker to give the Swedes their first multi-goal lead.
Helomaa went to the bench with time ticking away, leading to a Brad Lambert goal with 61 seconds remaining, but Ludwig Persson set up Stjernberg right off the ensuing face-off to give the Swedes a little bit of insurance.
Sweden is back on the ice Monday night (7 p.m. CT) for a showdown against Canada Red in a match-up of early unbeatens, while Finland has a quick turnaround before it faces Russia in a rematch of the 2018 gold medal game (3 p.m. CT).