Donskoi, Finland Top Switzerland 4-0
Tuesday, 12.28.2010 / 3:55 PM ET / World Juniors
|Joonas Donskoi talks to floridapanthers.com following the 4-0 victory. Donskoi registered two assists.|
After suffering a heartbreaking, sudden defeat in their first game of the tournament to the United States, Finland looked to rebound against a fundamentally sound Switzerland team.
Mission accomplished as Finland controlled play from the opening whistle, outshooting Switzerland 35-14 on their way to a 4-0 victory in Tuesday's first game.
What was even more impressive to Finland's head coach Lauri Marjamaki was the limited amount of time to prepare for the game, compared to Switzerland (Finland played in the late game Sunday while Switzerland played in the first game).
"It is difficult for us to play Sunday and then play this morning game because we have to prepare as good as we can," said Marjamaki. "I think that this team wants to succeed here and all the time you see how motivated guys we have and everybody worked hard. (Our) defense was good."
Joni Ortio stopped the 15 shots in the victory while Benjamin Conz turned aside 34 shots in the loss.
"A reason to be happy now," said Panthers prospect Joonas Donskoi who registered two assists and was a plus-2 with three shots in the victory. "It was a good game, a lot better than against the USA.
"We played a lot in their zone so they didn't get the puck to our zone, (but when they did) our goaltender had a good game."
Finnish forward Erik Haula who might have had the most quality chances in Finland's first two games, had the first real good chance coming with 6:25 into the first on a two-on-one break after a defender fell down but Conz denied the Finn.
Super prospect Nino Niederreiter had a great opportunity for Switzerland with 13:35 gone in the period as he broke in all alone on Ortio but the netminder made the glove save.
Fans thought they had seen their first goal of the game come with 3:37 left in the opening frame as they scored with eight seconds on the power play but the goal crossed the line a split second after the net was dislodged.
Outshooting Switzerland 17-5 in the first, Finland was finally rewarded for all of their attempts, scoring with just 19 seconds left as Toni Rajala's shot from just atop the face-off circle was tipped home by Joonas Nattinen.
Finland opened up their lead 4:37 into the second thanks to Donskoi who stationed just above the goal line put a centering pass to Jyrki Jokipakka. The defenseman fanned on the shot but the puck kept carrying to Jaako Turtianen who buried his attempt.
"I saw that they were coming in (towards me) and I tried to play it to him (Jokipakka). It was a lucky bounce to the other side and Turtianen put the puck in," said Donskoi.
Looking to further the lead, Conz made a nice right pad save on Julius Junttila while Finland was on the rush with a couple of minutes left in the second.
"We planned to dump the puck in, and play in their zone," said Donskoi. "The first and third period was good. The second period it wasn't that good. Too selfish playing, a lot of turnovers in the neutral zone but it's getting better all the time."
The Finns were able to boost their lead in the third period off a power play goal by Teemu Pulkkinen and an even strength goal by Junttila doubled their advantage.
Pulkinen scored after one-timing the cross-ice feed from Haula 11 seconds into a power play and 3:37 into the third. Later with 7:51 gone in the frame, Junttila scored while taking the puck to the crease and putting it into the top left corner of the net. Donskoi registered the second assist on the goal.
"On the second goal, get the puck in the own zone, put it in the middle and Junttila made a great play to beat Conz, top corner."
The Finns had the chance to increase their lead even more but Donskoi was denied twice on a rush with 9:02 and then his centering pass while falling down to Junttila was intercepted at the last second with 3:44 remaining. With 2:10 left in the game, Nattinen had a 2-on-0 break but missed the shot wide.
Finland will play again on Wednesday against Germany in the 3:30pm game.