International Ice Hockey Federation

Finns play with power

Finns play with power

Laine continues rampage in win over Germany

Published 08.05.2016 19:18 GMT+3 | Author Lucas Aykroyd
Finns play with power
ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - MAY 8: Finland's Leo Komarov #71 gets the puck past Germany's Timo Pielmeier #51 to score a first period goal during preliminary round action at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey Championship. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/HHOF-IIHF Images)
For the second straight game, 18-year-old winger Patrik Laine set the tone for Finland with two goals and an assist in Sunday’s 5-1 win over Germany.

Leo Komarov had a goal and an assist, and Sebastian Aho and Jarno Koskiranta also scored for the Finns, who are questing for their first gold medal since 2011. Jussi Jokinen and Mikael Granlund each added a pair of assists.

Coach Kari Jalonen's team capitalized three times with the man advantage.

"Overall, it was a pretty decent game for us," said Granlund. "We have only played two games now and the biggest games are ahead of us. That’s the bottom line in this tournament."

It’s early days yet, but Laine has a shot at the tournament scoring crown if he keeps performing with Mario Lemieux-like panache. The MVP of the Liiga playoffs with champion Tappara Tampere also had two goals and an assist in Finland's 6-2 opening win over Belarus. The last World Championship rookie to top the points parade was Canadian superstar Sidney Crosby with 16 points in 2006.

"He’s playing great," Granlund said of Laine. "He plays at a high level. He needs to keep enjoying these games."

Finnish starting goalie Mikko Koskinen got his second straight three-point win versus German netminder Timo Pielmeier. Shots on goal favored Finland 22-17.

"I was pleased with our defensive game," said Jalonen.

Brooks Macek replied for Germany.

"We have got to play better than that," said Germany's Felix Schutz. "Overall, what can I say? They played better than us. That was it."

The Yubileiny stands were packed with Finnish fans, and they had plenty to cheer about as their team claimed victory with a consistent effort.

Laine opened the scoring at 6:22 on the power play. Juuso Hietanen fed him for his trademark one-timer bomb from the top of the left faceoff circle, which sailed inside the far post.

At 9:08, the Finns went up 2-0 with another power play goal. This time Laine sent a cross-ice pass to Jussi Jokinen, whose pass from the right faceoff circle was directed in by Komarov at the top of the crease.

"There were a lot of penalties," said Granlund. "Some games are going to be like this, and you just have to be real good on your special teams."

Germany hung tight in the first half of the second period, killing off Leon Draisaitl’s hooking minor with determination. Draisaitl drew a penalty midway through the frame when Finnish captain Mikko Koivu tripped him up by Koskinen’s net. But an offensive-zone hooking penalty to Macek negated that opportunity.

With the teams at 4-on-4, Aho scored his first career World Championship goal at 9:53. Mikael Granlund stickhandled through a flock of German defenders and fed Aho cross-ice for a perfect one-timer into the gaping cage.

A few minutes later, Laine got a breakaway, and defenceman Denis Reul grabbed him as he shot the puck into Pielmeier, resulting in another Finnish man advantage. It didn’t pan out. It didn’t matter.

On the rush, Mika Pyorala sent a centering pass to Koskiranta, whose high, backhanded tip eluded the German goalie to make it 4-0 at 17:50.

Frustrations bubbled over before the period ended. Defenceman Korbinian Holzer threw an oncoming Antti Pihlstrom to the ice, and the two got into a shoving match on the end boards. Holzer threatened Pihstrom with his clenched fist, but the Finnish forward wound up with the extra roughing minor as both went off.

At 18:42, Macek managed to spoil Koskinen’s shutout bid with a snap shot over the glove, set up by Draisaitl.

But the Germans' characteristic lack of offensive flair was laid bare in the third, as they failed to convert on two more power plays.

Again from the left faceoff circle, Laine added his fourth of the tournament on the power play with three seconds left. Chants of "Laine! Laine!" erupted from the Suomi supporters.

From a historical standpoint, this result was no surprise. Germany’s last win over Finland at the Worlds was a 3-1 decision on home ice in Dortmund in 1993.

The Finns will face their toughest challenge yet against the Americans on Monday. Germany will wait until Tuesday to battle Slovakia.

"Slovakia is a top team, and we are anticipating a serious test," said German head coach Marco Sturm.

 

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