Finland doesn’t shine in win over France

Finland doesn’t shine in win over France

Markus Nisius14 May 2016Markus Nisius»

An unspectacular game gave Finland the 5th win of the tournament to stay perfect. Once again Patrik Laine was the key Player with 2 points in a 3-1 victory.


Photo: Ing. Vladimír Koláček

If France was still dreaming about the quarterfinals a win against Finland today or Canada on monday is absolutely necessary. For Finland on the other side the game is a must-win to stay in the race for the number 1 spot with Canada.

The first 20 minutes went by without huge highlights. Jarno Koskiranta had a big chance standing alone in front of Christobal Huet, but the former NHL goalie could get his pad out to make the kick save. Since the French defense also killed two Finnish powerplays, the game went into the first break without any goals.

Esa Lindell finally broke the spell with a shot from the blue line on the powerplay after 25 minutes of play, that found its way past Huet for the 1-0. Twelve seconds later France at least got its chance to improve the number of shots on goal as Jani Lajunen received a tripping penalty. At that point France could only register 2 shots. A goal was not in the cards for the French.

After the French powerplay Finland started to raise both the speed and intensity of their game and came to more chances. Koivu was denied by Helsinki IFK defender Yohann Auvitu, who managed to get his stick in between the puck and the goal line, and Sebastian Aho failed to finish a breakaway that was stopped by Huet.

At the 30:40 mark Patrik Laine got a shot away that ended up in the net. The video review took minutes. What seemed to be a pretty clear decision and should have been disallowed as Alexander Barkov deflected the puck above the cross bar was finally ruled a good goal for Finland.

Four minutes later Laine scored his 8th point of the tournament by finishing off a breakaway after being setup by Jussi Jokinen with a nice flip pass from the right side into the centre, where Laine was waiting for it. So Finland could bring a 3-0 lead into the last break.

The Finns kept controlling the last period without applying too much pressure. The French seemed to have given up on the game, they even gave their back-up goalie Roman Quemener the chance to play the last 9 minutes.

Due to a rather uncommon penalty against goalie Mikko Koskinen, who hold the puck with his glove behind the goal line, France suddenly had the chance to go on a 5-on-3 powerplay for over a minute. And indeed Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, the only current NHL player on the French roster, managed to work the puck over the line in a goal crease scrap. Again the referees had to ask the video judge, who finally ruled it a good goal.

With 5 minutes left on the clock Mikael Granlund's tripping penalty gave France another chance to get closer, but they failed to come up with another powerplay marker. In the end the time expired with the 3-1 score for Finland.

Both teams will have to improve their performances. France will get its next chance against Canada on monday, while Finland will take on Slovakia tomorrow.

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