Stars defense prospect Esa Lindell and Finland took the gold medal at the 2014 World Junior Championship, defeating Sweden, 3-2, in overtime Sunday in Malmo, Sweden.
Buffalo defense prospect Rasmus Ristolainen’s scored 9:42 into overtime, driving the net and backhanding the puck past Swedish goaltender Oscar Dansk to give Finland the victory.
Lindell opened the scoring in the championship tilt, tallying off a wrist shot from the top of the left circle 28 seconds into the game to give Finland a 1-0 lead. It was the second time in the tournament Lindell had scored in the first minute of a game, both times against Sweden.
Sweden overcame 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to get the game to overtime before Ristolainen’s heroics gave Finland its first gold medal at the World Juniors since 1998. Juuse Saros, a Nashville prospect, was superb in net for Finland, stopping 35 shots. Teuvo Teravainen, a Chicago prospect, had three assists and ended up the tournament’s leading scorer with 15 points (two goals, 13 assists) in seven games.
Lindell, Dallas’ third round pick (74th overall) in 2012, played in all situations for Finland, including power play and penalty kill. He ended the tournament with five points (two goals, three assists) and a plus-six rating in seven games. His five points tied for second among defensemen at the tournament and he was tied for sixth among all players in plus/minus rating.
Russia tops Canada for bronze medal
In the bronze medal game, Russia defeated Canada, 2-1. It was the second straight year that Russia defeated Canada to take the bronze.
"It’s tough," Team Canada captain Scott Laughton said. "You can’t put it into words. When you put on this crest and try to represent your country, and can’t even bring a medal back to Canada for the people who’ve been cheering for you and have 4,000 fans come down here, it’s heartbreaking."
Swedish forward Filip Forsberg of the Nashville Predators was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
Here are the other tournament awards:
Goaltender – Oscar Dansk (Sweden)
Forward – Filip Forsberg (Sweden)
Defenseman - Rasmus Ristolainen (Finland)
Media All Star Team:
Goaltender - Juuse Saros (Finland)
Defense - Nikita Zadorov (Russia)
Defense - Rasmus Ristolainen (Finland)
Forward - Anthony Mantha (Canada)
Forward - Teuvo Teravainen (Finland)
Forward - Filip Forsberg (Sweden)
Sunday’s medal games
Gold: Finland 3, Sweden 2 (OT)
Bronze: Russia 2, Canada 1
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.