World Championships 2008: Bronze medal Game

Saturday, 17th May 2008

Finland vs Sweden

The penultimate match of this years championships was played in Quebec on Saturday night and renewed one of the oldest rivalries in hockey.

Finland had faced Sweden in three major finals and lost them all, played against them in the bronze play off in 2002 and in the quarter finals in 2003 and lost them as well.

The teams showed plenty of effort in the first period but the game was a typical third place play off we have come to expect in this country with hardly any physical contact. The game cried out for a goal and Finland duly obliged at 11.31. Hyvonen passed from the wing to Kapanen in the face off circle who fanned on the shot. The puck somehow landed at Pihlstrom’s feet and he rocketed the biscuit past Stefan Liv.

Two minutes later Janne Niskala scored his second of the tournament with a surprise shot from the right point for 2-0. Sweden outshot Finland 12-8 but could not find a way past Backstrom. End of the first 2-0 Finland.

The second period was scoreless but the penalty box was busy with 9 minor penalties. Sweden laid siege to the Finnish goal but Backstrom stood tall to blank all efforts. One sliding stick save to deny Martensson was one of the saves of the tournament. Just after the midpoint he used his pads to stone Fernholm who had already turned away in celebration and held his head in his hands as he realised Backstrom had somehow kept the puck out. Again a huge shot count in Sweden’s favour ( 11-2) but no goals. End of the second still 2-0 to Finland.

Finland scored a third goal at 42.18 as Hyvonen sent a superb pass from the corner to Pihlstrom at the side of the net and the Nashville Predators man made no mistake to score his second goal of the night. Sweden, desparate to avoid the shut out, pulled Liv on two occasions to try and utilise the extra skater but it backfired on them at 57.35 as Mikko Koivu scored an empty netter to end the scoring. Final score 4-0 to the Finns and a well deserved bronze medal for them. That’s three medals in three years for the Finns, two bronze and a silver. Surely this team will pick up a gold at some stage.

This was Doug Shedden’s last game in charge of the Finns and he now goes to coach EV Zug in the Swiss first division. Jukka Jalonin will take over the lions of Suomi next season. Speculation is also rife that the great Teemu Selanne has played his last game for the national side. 43 games and 48 points ( 25 goals and 23 assists) for his country in the World Championships is some record for the Finnish hero.

55 games down and 1 to go. The battle of the giants tomorrow night, Canada v Russia.

One report to go

Jim "Tambo" Piper

Related reads

2008 IIHF World Championships logo

The 2008 World Championships are reaching their climax as Finalnd and Sweden play for the Bronze medal.

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