Finland tops Sweden to win third world juniors title
MALMO, Sweden — Buffalo Sabres defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen scored at 9:42 of overtime to give Finland its third world junior hockey title, 3-2 over Sweden on Sunday.
Ristolainen picked up the puck along the right boards, beat defenceman Robert Hagg as he cut in front of the goal and slid a backhander under goalie Oscar Dansk’s right leg pad. Ristolainen has one goal in 19 games this season for Buffalo.
Finland also won the under-20 event in 1987 in Czechoslovakia and 1998 at home in Helsinki.
Sweden’s tied it at 2 on Christian Djoos’ power-play goal with 9:07 left in the third period. Djoos beat goalie Juuse Saros with a slap shot through traffic from the high slot.
Finland’s Era Lindell — drafted by Dallas — scored 28 seconds into the game, and Lucas Wallmark tied it on a power play at 7:53 of the second. Finland regained the lead 45 seconds later on Nashville draft pick Saku Maenalanen’s goal.
Saros, also drafted by Nashville, made 35 saves, and Chicago Blackhawks prospect Teuvo Teravainen had three assists to help Finland hand Sweden its first loss in seven games in the tournament. Teravainen won the scoring title with 15 points on two goals and 13 assists, and Maenalanen topped the goals list with seven.
Sweden’s Filip Forsberg was selected the tournament most valuable player.
The Nashville forward had four goals and eight assists in seven games.
In the third-place game, Russia beat Canada 2-1.
Buffalo centre Mikhail Grigorenko and Eduard Gimatov had first-period goals for Russia, and Josh Morrissey scored for Canada in the third.
“When you put on this crest and try to represent your country and can’t even bring a medal back to Canada to the people who’ve been cheering for you, and have 4,000 fans come down here, it’s heartbreaking,” Canadian captain Scott Laughton said.
The Canadians won the last of their record 15 titles in 2009. They also lost to Russia in the third-place game last year in Ufa, Russia.
“We beat them again, so it’s a good time right now,” Grigorenko said. “It’s a tough game to prepare for, but once it starts you just play hockey and want to win the game.”
In the semifinals Saturday, Finland beat Canada 5-1, and Sweden topped Russia 2-1.
Germany beat Norway 3-1 for a 2-1 victory in the best-of-three relegation series. Germany will remain in the competition next year in Montreal and Toronto, while Denmark will take Norway’s spot in the 10-team event. Frederik Tiffels, Dominik Kahun and Patrik Klopper scored for Germany and Marvin Cupper made 34 saves.
“It’s our goal to be a top-10 nation, and that’s what we did today,” said Leon Draisaitl, who had two assists. “It’s going to be probably the greatest experience you’ll ever have next year, playing in Toronto and Montreal.”
The United States, the winner last year, dropped out Thursday with a 5-3 quarterfinal loss to Russia.
The tournament drew 144,268 fans, breaking the European record of 139,680 set in 1998 in Finland. The overall record is 453,282 in Ottawa, Ontario, in 2009.