Sweden was 30 seconds away from taking a one-goal lead into the locker room at the second intermission, but an ill-timed hooking call against David Petrasek gave Finland a one-man advantage. With seven seconds to go in the period Jarrko Immonen knotted it up, laying the ground work for a five-goal third period that lifted Finland to a 6-1 victory in the Gold Medal Game at the 2011 IIHF World Championships in Bratislava, Slovakia Sunday night.
It is just the second World Championship for Finland and its first in 16 years. Since that first title in 1995, which also came against Sweden, the Finns had become something of a bridesmaid, finishing with the silver medal four times, tied with Canada -- and now Sweden -- for the most Gold Medal Game losses in that span.
The Czech Republic won Bronze earlier in the day with a 7-4 win over Russia.
After an evenly-matched first period that featured strong performances by Finnish goaltender Petri Vehanen and Swedish netminder Viktor Fasth, who combined for 25 saves, the scoreless stalemate was finally broken open by Sweden's Magnus Paajarvi, who scored unassisted at 7:40 of the second.
Sweden missed an opportunity to build on its lead by failing to score on two power plays in the middle of the period. That inability to increase the margin came back to bite Sweden late in the period, when Immonen potted his momentum-shifting tally.
That momentum carried on into the final period, as the Finns took control with two quick strikes early in the third, as Petteri Nokelainen give Finland its first lead 2:35 into the period. The Finns got a cushion just 46 seconds later when Niko Kapanen beat Fasth.
With time winding down in the third, Finland put the game away in the same fashion in which it had taken the lead earlier in the period, as Janne Pesonen and Mika Pyorala both scored in a 35-second span in the closing minutes. Antti Pihlstrom would provide an exclamation point in the final minute of regulation with Finland's sixth-goal of the game. Vehanen finished with 32 saves for the Finns.
The 2011 gold is the 10th medal of any kind for Finland at the World Championships.