LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- With a schedule that saw Finland play five games in six days here at the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp, a 3-2 overtime win against the United States on Saturday will send the Finns home happy.
"To win this game was very important for us because it was the fifth game and we had four losses in a row," Finland coach Harri Rindell told NHL.com. "So we needed to have this. It's always nice to have that kind of end of the tournament."
Miro Aaltonen, who led Finland in scoring this week with three goals and three assists, broke in alone for the winning goal in overtime, knocking his rebound past U.S. goalie Jon Gillies.
Rindell said he was a bit surprised to see his team still be able to finish those kind of plays with all the hockey they played this week.
"We played [Friday], USA didn't play [Friday]," Rindell said. "They changed a lot of guys. We have only 22 players here. That's why it was very important for us. We actually reduced what we used to only six defensemen at the end and maybe three lines, more or less. [Juuso] Ikonen got hurt, and he was a very important player for us."
Ikonen, who led the team with four goals, suffered a minor finger injury and was fine after the game. Another player who was healthy was forward Miikka Salomaki, the Nashville Predators prospect who missed the prior three games with an upper-body injury. He was left off the official roster sheet, but after warm-ups said he was healthy enough to play.
"He was in the warm-ups and it was so close," Rindell said. "He wanted to play so we let him play. That's nice for him and nice for us."
Goalie Janne Juvonen, who had a rough start to the tournament, including allowing eight goals on 39 shots in an 8-2 loss to Sweden, ended on a high. He stopped all 11 shots he faced in the third period of Friday's 5-2 loss to Sweden, and shut out the U.S. team for two periods Saturday. He finished with 25 saves on 27 shots.
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