ICE HOCKEY: Finland stuns Canada, 3-1, to win IIHF World Championship in Slovakia

Finland wins! Finland wins! (Photo: IIHF)

In the first game of the IIHF World Championship tournament in Slovakia, Finland scored twice in the third period to defeat Canada, 3-1.

On Sunday – 16 days later – Finland and Canada were tied, 1-1, going into the third period in the championship game. And two goals later, Finland finished with another 3-1 win and took home its third world title and its first in eight years.

Marko Anttila scored the goal-ahead goal – which proved to be the winning goal – just 2:35 into the third period. About 13 minutes later, Harri Pesonen scored for a 3-1 lead and although Canada pulled keeper Matt Murray for much of the remaining four minutes, the game finished at 3-1.

What was all the more amazing is that the Canadians outshot the Finns, 21-3, in the third period, but failed to score. For the game, Canada had a 44-22 advantage in shots, but Finland’s Kevin Lankinen only allowed one to score.

In the group stage, Canada led Group A with a 6-1 record, finishing ahead of the Finns (5-1 + 1 overtime loss), Germany (5-2) and the U.S. (4-2 + 1 overtime win). Russia won Group B with a 7-0 record, trailed by the Czechs at 6-1, Sweden at 5-2 and Switzerland at 4-3.

This was Finland’s third world title (in 1995-2011-2019) and stopped a two-year run for Sweden as world champs. Canada won the prior two titles in 2015-16. The tournament awards:

Individual Awards selected by the Tournament Directorate:
Best Goaltender: Andrei Vasilevski (RUS)
Best Defenseman: Filip Hronek (CZE)
Best Forward: Nikita Kucherov (RUS)

All-Star Team selected by the media:
Goalkeeper: Andrei Vasilevski (RUS)
Defense: Filip Hronek (CZE), Mikko Lehtonen (FIN)
Forward: Mark Stone (CAN), William Nylander (SWE) and Jakub Voracek (CZE)

Most Valuable Player selected by the media:
● Mark Stone (CAN)

The leading scorer turned out to be Will Nylander of Sweden, with 18 points (5+13), followed by three with 16 points: Nikita Kucherov (RUS: 6+10), Nikita Gusev (RUS: 4+12) and Jakub Voracek (CZE: 4+12). The top goal scorer was Canada’s Stone, with eight.

The tournament was held in two arenas: the Ondrej Nepala Arena in Bratislava and the Steel arena in Kosice. Total attendance was reported as 470,853, or 7,357 per match. Summaries:

IIHF Men’s World Championship
Bratislava and Kosice (SVK) ~ 10-26 May 2019
(Full results here)

Final Standings: 1. Finland; 2. Canada; 3. Russia; 4. Czech Rep.; 5. Sweden; 6. Germany; 7. United States; 8. Switzerland; 9. Slovakia; 10. Latvia; 11. Denmark; 12, Norway; 13. Great Britain; 14. Italy; 15. France; 16. Austria. Semis: Finland d. Russia, 1-0; Canada d. Czech Rep., 5-1. Third: Russia d. Czech Republic, 3-2 (shoot-out). Final: Finland d. Canada, 3-1.