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WJC Medal Game Recap

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Teenagers playing for medals — so exciting.

BRONZE - USA 8, Sweden 3

This wasn’t a very interesting game to watch. America scored twice, then Sweden tied it up. That’s how the first period ended, then it was all America. Sweden’s third goal came with less than two minutes left in the third, long past the point of any possible comeback.

Bafflingly, Sweden started Felix Sandstrom in goal. He was their projected starter going into the tournament, but was sick earlier, and Linus Soderstrom earned the job. Soderstrom had a really good tournament, and wasn’t the problem in yesterday’s loss to Finland. Sandstrom wasn’t the whole problem, but he also wasn’t amazing to keep his team in the game, and things spiraled.

America scored four in the second period, and two in the third. It’s unfortunate that Auston Matthews couldn’t manage a couple of goals to claim the record for the most scored by an American in the tournament. It really wasn’t very interesting hockey to watch — I guess I’m not patriotic enough.

Alex (brother of William) Nylander seemed to score to make it 3-4, but it was ruled to have been put in with a high stick.

Belpedio made the initial shot on America’s first goal, but didn’t get a point. Eriksson Ek made a really nice pass for Sweden’s first goal. Outside of that I don’t have much to say about either of them.

GOLD - Finland 4, Russia 3 OT

WOW. So, this was quite a game.

Kaapo Kahkonen’s night got off to a rough start. He took a delay of game penalty for putting the puck into the stands, and then gave up a power play goal. After that he was very solid, and made a lot of quality saves.

Kaprizov didn’t pick up a point, but there were definitely points where he looked dangerous, especially one really nice centering pass.

The story of yesterday was that Finland’s young top line didn’t make it onto the scoresheet. Today that wasn’t the case. Laine scored twenty-four seconds into the third. Russia answered back right away. Midway through the period Aho scored to tie it at two. Puljujarvi assisted on both goals.

Mikko Rantanen scored on the powerplay with two minutes left in the game. It seemed like Finland was going to win gold on home ice. The arena was absolutely insane.

Russian captain Vladislav Kamenev (NSH) was given a ten minute misconduct for… having a temper tantrum, basically? Hitting an official with his stick? It wasn’t entirely clear. It was only a misconduct, not a minor, which meant the end of the game was still 5-on-5, or 6-on-5 after Russia pulled their goalie.

If he had taken a minor then what happened next probably wouldn’t have been possible. Andrei Svetlakov, an undrafted KHL player scored with six point nine seconds left, forcing overtime.

If I wasn’t writing a recap I might have not watched over time — this game had already been too much. I don’t know how much of it my heart could have taken.

Fortunately Kasperi Kapanen quickly put an end to it, scoring after a minute and a half, a really nice wrap around goal. Absolutely beautiful.

The Finnish crowd went nuts. The team poured onto the ice and started hugging each other. The broadcast showed Teemu Selanne, Saku Koivu, and the Finnish president celebrating.

Jesse Puljujarvi was named tournament MVP, which is especially impressive considering how he’s a draft eligible player this year.

It was an exciting game to watch, and the positive energy of Finland winning on home ice was really great to see.