Finland 8, Slovakia 3
New York (The Draft Analyst) —Jesse Puljujarvi had a goal and three assists as host Finland exploded for seven goals over the final period and a half and cruised to an 8-3 romp over Slovakia on Wednesday at the world junior hockey championship from Helsinki.
Puljujarvi now leads the tournament in scoring with 10 points in three games. He assisted on Sebastian Aho’s power play goal late in the first period, which began Finland’s comeback from a 2-0 deficit, then fed center Aleksi Saarela in the slot for a power play goal which tied the score at two. Roope Hintz, a Dallas Stars prospect, gave the Finns the lead for good with just 1:38 left in the second period. Puljujarvi scored a goal of his own that opened the scoring of the third period, giving Finland (2-1) a 4-2 lead. He completed his four-point night with an assist on Aho’s second power play goal of the game at 2:41 of the final frame.
Aho finished with two goals and an assist, while Patrik Laine chipped in with a goal and two assists. Kasperi Kapanen and Kasper Bjorkqvist also scored, and defenseman Ville Saarijarvi registered three assists as Finland can clinch second place in Group B with a win over the Czech Republic on Thursday.
The Slovaks jumped out to an early lead in the first period on goals by Matus Sukel and Chicago Blackhawks draftee Radovan Bondra. Patrik Meier also scored for Slovakia (1-2), which finished fourth in the group regardless of the outcome of its match with Russia on Thursday.
Adam Huska, who was a seventh round pick of the New Yrk Rangers in 2015, stopped 39 shots for Slovakia before he was pulled in the third period. Kaapo Kahkonen made 25 saves for the Finns.
Finnish star Teemu Selanne, who will likely be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame following his stellar career in the National Hockey League, had his national team number retired by the Finnish Hockey Federation in a pre-game ceremony.