All in 4 minutes
- Davide Tuniz from Bern
USA advances to semifinal scoring 3 goals in 4 minutes of Finnish black-out
Game number 95 between Finland and USA, this time with a place in semifinal as award. After two bronzes and a silver medal in last 3 edition, Finland want to break the gold taboo and showed a good shape during whole tournament. USA, from their side, are enjoying to play the role of joker in this deck, having played a very positive tournament so far, with many young players, already proved for main act.
Despite charismatic Petteri Nummelin out injured, Finnish got off to a flying start, overcoming USA with a 7-1 SOG in first minutes, but USA don't capitulated and the only real chance was a bar hit by a Mikko Lehtonen missile after 11 minutes. Colin Wilson has a great chance at minute 13 but Rinne is reactive on his closer shot. Nashville goalie is superb closing the door at minute 18, when Jason Blake come alone on him.
During last power play Sami Kapanen has a terrific chance but Esche rebounds his attempt. Another Miettinen's try from long-range closes the period.
Esche had a busy first period
Photo: Roman Kucera
Finland pressure produces 1-0 after one minute in the second period: Miettinen come in US defence during a PP, his shot is rebounded by Esche but Niko Kapanen is the quickest to tap in. Finland is reanimated by goal: Miettinen and Ninimaa tested Esche reflexes. USA are plagued by penalties and Finland has various chances to double score, while Americans has decent chances with shots from Ballard and Jonhson, saved by Rinne. When is Finland turn for penalties, US tie game: with Hyvonen in the sinbin, Jarkko Ruutu tripped Esche and leaves teammates on 5vs3: USA don't waste the chance and Dustin Brown finished a Suter-Hainsey move.
Finland is wounded by goal and USA complete overturn at 32:11: TJ Oshie beats Rinne finalizing a perfect counterattack. One-two punch make Finland waver and timely comes third US goal, a perfect copy of second: counterattack with Finnish defence wrong-foot and perfect finish by Ryan Suter: in 4 minutes Finland wake up from 1-0 to 1-3. With great support of fans and a bit of luck, Finland tries to score second goal before rest: Immonen's shot hit Esche mask and Hannes Hyvonen scores on rebound at 37:50. Rinne made a great save seconds before end of period and Finland can breath before last 20 minutes.
Dustin Brown scored the first American goal
Photo: Roman Kucera
Chris Higgins was stopped by Rinne at begin of third period and after 5 minutes Liles doesn't hook up a puck near the net. No way for Finland to unravelled the puzzle and just because Rinne is hot in the net Finnish boat doesn't sink. Niklas Hagman keeps Esche awake at min. 50, while Mikko Lehtonen calls him for a great deflection at min. 51. Finnish attack, but the play is helter-skelter and never produced real dangers for Esche cage, while Americans wasted the KO with two minutes to play, when for three times aren't able to capitalize a counterattack but taking advantage from Finnish confusion sealed the game and an unexpected semifinals.
After three consecutive years on podium, Finland have to go home before final party, paying 4 minutes of incredible black out in second period.
Finland - USA 2-3 (0-0,2-3,0-0)
1-0 20:57 Niko Kapanen (Niklas Hagman,Antti Miettinen)PP
1-1 30:31 Dustin Brown (Ryan Suter,Ron Hainsey)PP
1-2 32:11 TJ Oshie (David Backes,Kyle Okposo)
1-3 34:19 Ryan Suter (Jason Blake,Colin Wilson)
2-3 37:50 Hannes Hyvonen (Jarko Immonen)
MVP: Niko Kapanen - Robert Esche