Talking to Panthers head scout Scott Luce prior to the Finland/Germany game, Luce had said that Panthers prospect and Finnish forward Joonas Donskoi
gets better as tournaments progress.
"He's the type of player, and he did it this summer in the development camp in Lake Placid, started off a little slow, and he gets better as the tournament goes on," said Luce. "I think this game tonight against Germany will be a jumping off game for him. He found some offense yesterday and I think he's going to take the next step forward in this tournament."
Oh how right he was. After registering his first points of the tournament, a pair of assists against Switzerland Tuesday, Donskoi recorded a goal and an assist while posting three shots and finished a plus-two in Finland's 5-1 over Germany Wednesday.
Donskoi set up the second Finnish goal as his pass let Miikka Salomaki walk in on German netminder Philipp Grubauer all alone 6:23 into the second period. The forward then shot it low and along the ice to beat Grubauer five-hole.
Just over seven minutes later, Donskoi would give the Finns a 3-0 lead with his first tally of the tournament. Working his way to just in front of the crease, Donskoi pounced on the rebound off a scramble and beat Grubauer.
"I had a better chance before that goal," said the Panthers fourth round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft (99th overall). " I shot it wide but (Julius) Juntilla threw it to the net again. Lucky bounce"
Donskoi who is currently tied for the team lead with four points in three games and a plus-four agrees with Luce's assessment in that the more he plays, the better he gets.
"Yeah I think," said Donskoi. "The USA game, for me, was bad so it's getting better all the time. I think that you get better when playing all the time."
The Finns would close out the three-goal second when Jesse Virtanen scored off a snap shot from the slot 1:32 later, sending Grbauer to the showers and bringing in Niklas Treutle.
Finland and Germany played a pretty even first period with Finland leading 13-10 in shots and just 1-0 on the scoreboard.
With 9:23 left in the first, Finland had the first great opportunity. Killing off a German power play, the Finns worked found themselves on a two-on-one break. The cross ice pass just went out of the reach of the forward however.
Germany's first real chance came with 6:30 left in first. Stationed in the right face-off circle, Tobias Rieder found the cross-ice feed on his stick but fired it wide with Joni Ortio down.
The game's home team would find the back of the net with 4:01 left in the first as Joonas Nattinen nicely redirected the Tommi Kivisto's point shot past Grubauer.
"It was a bad first. I don't know what we were thinking before the game," said Donskoi. "It's a huge tournament and there's not a bad team at all."
Early in the second period, Grubauer had to make a nice glove save as Teemu Pulkkinen fired a shot on net while on the rush.
After the three goals in a 9:54 span, Germany had a great opportunity with three minutes to play in the second. Ortio denied Bernhard Keil off the original shot and Corey Mapes on the follow up attempt.
Ortio's shutout bid would come with 3:28 gone in the third period. Rieder found himself behind the Finnish defense and deked out Ortio before sliding the puck past the netminder with just one hand.
Donskoi had another opportunity to pick up another point as he worked his way with Finnish captain Sami Vatanen on a 2-on-1 break with 10:14 to play in the final stanza. Passing back and forth between each other, Vatanen missed his return pass to finish off for the goal.
"I think he had a breakaway already but he tried to pass it to me and I tried to pass it to him," said Donskoi. "Too much passing."
Germany had a chance to get a little closer but Otrio got just enough of a Laurin Braun shot on the break out with seven minutes to play and then Braun was denied on a one-timer 40 seconds later.
Erick Haula's laser of a shot from just inside the blueline with 3:53 left to play ended the scoring for the day.
After a day of rest, Finland will play Slovakia in their last game before the medal rounds.