There were a pair of happy Finns in the Oilers locker room on Wednesday after their home nation won gold at the 2016 World Junior Championship on Tuesday.
“It was a really good game overall,” said Turku native Lauri Korpikoski, all smiles.
In a tense and thrilling climax, Finland scored the game-winning goal 1:33 into the overtime period, securing a 4-3 victory over Russia.
“That was great,” added Iiro Pakarinen, whose hometown is Loviisa. “Unbelievable games they played, all those playoff games they did, all those overtime games — yesterday I was waiting the whole day and watching the game. It was a great, great hockey game — and Russia was good too — it could have gone either way.”
With the Finns leading 3-2, Russia pulled their goalie with 43 seconds left in the third, scoring the equalizer with 6.4 seconds left on the clock.
“Well obviously it’s a tough goal, when they score like that,” said Korpikoski.
“We were obviously waiting for the party to start. But again the overtime winner was good too, so like I said, I think it was an even game, both teams played well, but I think Finns had a little bit of an edge and got the better of them, so it was good.”
Both Korpikoski and Pakarinen have had their go at the World Juniors with the Finnish team. Korpikoski played in 2005 (placing fifth) and again in 2006 (winning bronze), while Pakarinen suited up in 2010 (placing fifth) and 2011 (placing sixth).
“It’s great to have the boys win one on the home turf and the guys got a little party,” said Korpikoski. “It’s probably good they had the day off today — a national holiday (in Finland) — I don’t think many people would have shown up to work anyway.”