Aarne Talvitie scores twice, Finland beats Switzerland 6-1 to play for gold

Finland 6 Switerland 1

VANCOUVER — Aarne Talvitie scored two goals less than three minutes apart in the first period as Finland rolled over Switzerland 6-1 in Friday’s semifinal at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship.

The Finns will face the United States in Saturday’s final for gold. The U.S. beat Russia 2-1 in the other semifinal.

It will be the first time the U.S. and Finland meet for world junior gold.

Talvitie, the Finnish captain who was picked in the sixth round of the 2017 NHL draft by the New Jersey Devils, has four goals in six games.

Jesse Ylonen scored just 40 seconds into the game as the Finns built a 4-0 lead on just eight shots.

Aleksi Heponiemi, a 2017 second-round draft pick of the Florida Panthers, had a goal and three assists. Rasmus Kupari, a Los Angeles Kings’ draft pick, scored once and had two assists. Henri Jokiharju, on the power play, also scored for Finland.

Goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, who plays for the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL, stopped 16 shots as Finland outshot the Swiss 33-17.

Philipp Kurashev scored for Switzerland on a power play.

Swiss goaltender Luca Hollenstein was pulled at 7:43 of the first period after allowing four goals on eight shots. Akira Schmid stopped 23-of-25 shots.

Finland was 2-2 in the round-robin portion of the tournament then advanced to the semifinal with a 2-1 overtime victory against Canada. That might explain the chorus of boos from the crowd of 14,014 that greeted the Finns when they first stepped on the ice at Rogers Arena. The Swiss were cheered all game.

Switzerland struggled to a 1-2-1 record in the group phase, then upset Sweden 2-0 in the quarterfinal.

Talvitie scored his first goal on a shot that a screened Hollenstein didn’t see.

His second goal came on a strange play. Hollenstein stopped a Kupari shot and Talvitie’s rebound appeared to go into the net, but was first waved off before a replay showed the goal was good.

The Swiss stood their ground in the second period, killing off a two-man advantage for 1:45. Kupari scored on a pretty pass from Kaapo Kakko with just nine seconds remaining on the 5-on-4.

NOTES: Finland’s last world junior medal was gold in 2016. … Switzerland’s only medal was a bronze in 1998. … Finland outshot the Swiss 29-12 over two periods.

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