Despite icing a roster without a single full-time NHLer in a tournament where such players were plentiful, Finland has won the 2019 World Championship in Slovakia by a score of 3-1 over Canada on the strength of a two-goal performance from captain Marko Anttila.
Shea Theodore opened the scoring at the halfway point of the first for the Canadians. Theodore, a Vegas Golden Knights defenseman, took the puck from the blueline and moved past three Finnish defenders before sending a quick wrist shot past netminder Kevin Lankinen. It wasn't all that long before the Finns answered back, as a little less than three minutes into the second frame, the 6-foot-8 Anttila, who was the hero with the game-winner on Saturday, fired one through Matt Murray's legs to tie the game at one.
But no goal was as big as the one Anttila scored in the third period. With Canada scrambling in front of their own net, Anttila took a pass in front and sent it over Murray’s arm, giving the Finns their first lead of the game and the eventual game- and gold medal-winning goal. It was good enough to hold until the final buzzer, with Harri Pesonen scoring a goal late to help Finland capture gold for the first time since 2011 and for the third time in tournament history.
Russia holds on for bronze in shootout victory
It was a tale of two teams. On one hand, the Czech Republic was ecstatic for the chance to play for a medal, their reward for a fantastic showing at the tournament. The Russians, however, entered the tournament with the perception that it was gold-or-bust, and a crushing loss at the hands of Finland in the semifinal put an end to that lofty goal.
The two teams scored 41 seconds apart, with Mikhail Grigorenko tipping in Mikhail Sergachev at mere minutes after the halfway mark of the first frame to kick off scoring for Russia. Shortly thereafter, David Sklenicka sent Michal Repik streaking down the ice on a breakaway, and he made no mistake, potting the tying goal. Dominik Kubalik scored shortly before the end of the first to give the Czechs the advantage, but Artem Anisimov answered back 39 seconds into the middle stanza to knot the battle back up again.
With regulation and overtime failing to decide the winner, bronze was decided by way of a shootout, where Ilya Kovalchuk and Nikita Gusev made the difference for Russia. Andrei Vasilevskiy was excellent, turning in a 48-save effort to help Russia to the third-place finish.
- Marko Anttila (Finland): Anttila's four goals in the tournament were four of Finland's final five.
- Kevin Lankinen (Finland): Another stout effort in net with 43 saves.
- Andrei Vasilevskiy (Russia): With 48 saves, Vasilevskiy was the most motivated member of Russia's effort on Sunday.
4. Czech Republic
13. Great Britain
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