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Finland wins second straight; 5-1 over Germany

by Mike G. Morreale /
An opening-game loss to the U.S. National Junior Team certainly hasn't kept Finland down.

In fact, for at least one night, the Finns are in sole possession of first place in Group A after having quietly strung together two straight triumphs, including Wednesday's 5-1 victory over Germany. Finland, which has played one more game than the U.S. (2-0-0, 5 points), is virtually assured a second-place finish following preliminary-round action in Group A of the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship.

The U.S. scored a 3-2 overtime victory over Finland on Sunday.

Finland, which is 2-0-1 with 6 points through three games, will play Slovakia on Friday before the start of the medal round on Sunday. The U.S., which is scheduled to play Germany (0-2-1) on Thursday, will close out its preliminary-round schedule on Friday against Switzerland (NHLN-US, 8:00 p.m. ET).

Finland received goals from  Joonas Nattinen, Miikka Salomaki, Joonas Donskoi and Jesse Virtanen before Germany finally connected -- a spectacular right-handed dangle 3:28 into the third by 2011 draft eligible prospect Tobias Rieder. Nattinen, who now has a team-leading 3 goals in three tournament games, and Donskoi are both prospects of the Florida Panthers.

"We're getting to know each other a little better every day," Finland captain Sami Vatanen said. "We never played much together before the tournament, but it's starting to come together. We want to win a medal; it's been a long time."

Donskoi's goal at 13:47 of the second was followed by a goal just 1:32 later by Virtanen's tally, forcing Germany to replace starting goaltender Philipp Grubauer (24 saves, 28 shots) for Niklas Treutle (15 saves, 16 shots) for the second time in three games.

Calgary Flames prospect Joni Ortio turned aside 28 shots in making his third straight start in goal for Finland. Minnesota Wild prospect Eric Haula closed out the scoring for Finland 16:07 into the third.

Finland outshot the Germans, 44-29. Detroit Red Wings' future star Teemu Pulkkinen (2 assists), who has 4 points in the tournament, and Haula led the way with six shots apiece. Julius Junttila also chipped in with two assists.

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