International Ice Hockey Federation

Finland edges Americans

Finland edges Americans

USA falls 2-1, will play Sweden in quarter-finals

Published 23.04.2013 20:16 GMT+4 | Author Alexander Yakobson
Finland edges Americans
SOCHI, RUSSIA - APRIL 23: USA's Thatcher Demko #29 looks on as Finland's Juuso Ikonen #14 celebrates with teammates after a third period goal during preliminary round action at the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship. (Photo by Francois Laplante/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Finland grabbed the No. 2 seed in Group A with a 2-1 victory over the United States. Goaltender Juuse Saros stood on his head with 49 saves, and Aleksi Muskonen scored the game winner in the third.

Finland and the United States came to the match together tied in the standings with two wins and one defeat. The Americans were up due to the greater number of goals scored, but a loss to Finland would send them to the third seed in Group A and a tough matchup against Sweden. in the quarter-finals. 

Tied 1-1 in the third period, Muskonen scored in the middle of the frame, jumping on the puck after Arturri Lehkonen took a shot from the point that was saved by U.S. goalie Thatcher Demko, who wasn't able to control the rebound and gave up what would turn out to be the game winner.

"My line performed well, and we won today, but only because our goalie did great job," said Muskonen. 

Last year at the World Championships U 18 in the Czech Republic the preliminary round game between these teams ended with a convincing success of United States 4-0. It took only 37 seconds for the first puck to go in the net for the Americans. Gage Ausmus sends a nice pass, John Hayden has shifted to the right and caught Saros with a fake to go up 1:0. 

But Saros shut the door down on the US teh rest of the way, coming up big especially in the second period when the Finnish netmider had to make 25 saves as his team struggled to put any pressure on opposing goaltender Thatcher Demko.

Jonatan Tanus finally broke the ice for the Finns, scoring with under five minutes left in the third period to tie the score 1-1. the goal came off a Finland counter-attack, and was assisted by Kasperi Kapanen and Otto Rauhala.

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The final frame of the game continued with tough battling between the two physical teams. In one scrum of struggling players dropped one of the referees, who needed medical care.

By that time the Finns jumped ahead for good on a play by Aleksi Mustonen, who was helped by Lehkonen and Juuso Ikonen to score the game winner. 

Finland now awaits the winner of the Germany-Switzerland game. the United States will play Sweden when the quarter-final stage begins on Thursday. 



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