BRATISLAVA – Mikael Granlund scored the jaw-dropping second-period winner as Finland blanked Russia 3-0 in the last semi-final and marched into Sunday’s gold medal game with Sweden. The Russians will face the Czechs for bronze.
It is the fourth Sweden-Finland final ever for this tournament. The Swedes won gold in 1992 and 1998, while Finland spoiled Tre Kronor’s home-ice party in 1995 and claimed its lone Worlds gold.
"We’re very happy to be among the best two teams in the world," said Finnish head coach Jukka Jalonen. "We deserved it, as we played a very good game. Our power play worked well and our penalty kill worked well. That’s the reason we won today."
The most famous confrontation between Sweden and Finland was at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy, where Nicklas Lidström gave Tre Kronor gold with his early third-period goal in a 3-2 win. Sweden's last Worlds gold came against the Czechs later that year.
Here, between the pipes, Finland’s Petri Vehanen earned his first tournament shutout, bettering Russia’s Konstantin Barulin. Shots on goal favoured Russia 30-29.
"I actually liked playing against Russia better because I have a lot of teammates there," said Vehanen, who toils for the KHL's Ak Bars Kazan. "But Sweden will be special."
"We played together, as a team," said Finnish defenceman Jyrki Välivaara. "The Russians were more like individuals, and we played as a group. We had three guys working with the puck the whole time, and they had one guy with the puck. They can shield it well and move the puck and pass, but we defended really well."
Jani Lajunen and Jarkko Immonen had the other Finnish goals. With a two-point effort, Immonen now leads the tournament in scoring with 11 points.
Defenseman Dmitry Kulikov
finished a minus-1 in 13:20 of ice time (20 shifts).FULL STORY