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Tough loss to Lillebror
The Finland game was always going to be the game of the preliminary round. The two mammoth hockey countries from the top of the world going at it. Nothing short of a Goliath vs Goliath battle between the two fiercest hockey rivals in the world and the game did not disappoint.
Sweden drew first blood on power play after some quick-fire passes behind the net between Marcus Viitanen and Alexander Olsson the puck was delivered in front where Marcus Lissäng fired in an unstoppable shot that ripped into the back of the net.
Finland was quick to respond with a goal less than a minute later by Petri Partanen, assisted by Tomi Penttinen and Janne Laakkonen.
Sweden got another power play late in the first period and once again punished the Finns with a goal by Linus Svedlund after some nice puck movement by Jesper Kokkonen and Markus Kinisjärvi.
Second period was all Finland. Mikko Pukka took advantage of a gift of fortune puck that fell just right for him to unleash an enormous clapper that found the bottom corner of Robert Kinisjärvi's net. Assists were marked to Jimi Palanto and veteran Sami Markkanen. Finland was relentless and exactly a minute later Teemu Lepaus fired the puck into the Swedish net with helpers marked for Ossi Pellinen and Petri Partanen.
After the break, Finland came out with a purpose. Pahalampi's star player Teemu Lepaus was immensely accurate with his shot and doubled the Finns lead with assists awarded to Eemeli Suomi and Jouni Aalto. Despite periods of Swedish pressure, it was the Finns that found the net again. Lasse Lappalainen fired the Finns fifth goal with assists from Jouni Aalto and Teemu Lepaus.
The last period was end-to-end hockey like you've never seen before. Linus Svedlund got Sweden on the board with assists from Marcus Viitanen and Markus Kinisjärvi. Finland answered through Petri Partanen but Sweden came straight back 8 seconds later through Alexander Olsson from a pass by Rasmus Dahlberg-Karlsson.
Sweden went to equalise without a goalie for the last 70 seconds of the game but Finland's two goal cushion was too much to overcome. On the dying second of the game, Sweden came within a goal through a stunning one-timer by Markus Kinisjärvi from Jesper Kokkonen.
One-goal game. 6-5 loss to Lillebror. It was an epic battle, but this time Finland was marginally better. Player of the game was the always spectacular Martin Eklund.