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Finland captures fourth World Junior Hockey Championship – SportsUntapped.com
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Added January 8th, 2016 by Ian

Finland captures fourth World Junior Hockey Championship
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The IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships wrapped up in the first week of January with the host nation Finland capturing the gold medal in dramatic fashion at the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki. Finland took a 3-2 lead into the final minute of regulation time only to see Russia pull their goalie for an extra attacker and tie the game at the 19:54 mark of the final period. Finland then sent the home fans into a frenzy when Kasperi Kapanen scored the game winner at the 1:33 mark of sudden-death overtime.

Kapanen, who belongs to the Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL and plays with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League (AHL), beat a pair of Russian defenders and skated around the opponent’s net. He then deposited the puck in it on a beautiful wraparound goal while goaltender Alexander Georgiev was caught out of position. The 19-year-old hero told the press, “That’s one of those goals that you always dream of. I guess dreams do come true.”

Captain Mikko Rantanen also scored for Finland along with Patrik Laine and Sebastian Aho while goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen stopped 22 shots for the victory. Finland has now won the world junior title twice in the past three years and four times overall. They took down Sweden for the crown in 2014 and also won it at home in 1998. The tournament was the most successful in European history when it came to attendance as a total of 215,225 spectators showed up for a 7,174 average for each game.

Andrei Svetlakov banged in a pair of goals in the final game while Vladislav Kamenev added one and Georgiev made 25 saves. Russian fans were generally surprised to see Georgiev start the game in goal since Ilya Samsonov made 26 saves in Russia’s 2-1 victory over the United States in their semifinal clash. The U.S. players still managed to travel back to America with a medal around their necks as they thumped Sweden 8-3 to win the bronze.

Finland fell behind early in the gold-medal contest as Russia was up 1-0 just before the five minute mark when Kamenev scored. It remained that way until the 24-second mark of the third period when Laine evened things up. Russia regained the lead about 90 seconds later when Svetlakov found the back of the net. However, the score was level again when Aho made it 2-2 in the middle of the period. Rantanen then put Finland ahead shortly after on the power play, but they couldn’t hold on as Svetlakov sent the game into overtime when he made it 3-3 with just six seconds to go.

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