Three Thoughts on Team Finland from World Juniors pre-tournament game vs Canada

Finland faced Canada in its final pre-tournament game before the 2020 World Juniors. The Finns scored twice in the third period to tie the game but eventually Canada took a 4-2 win in regulation. Kristian Tanus and Patrik Puistola scored for the Finns. The teams also played a 5-minute overtime and shootout, both of which had been agreed before the game. Aku Räty scored the lone goal in overtime and the Finns also won the shootout as Puistola and Matias Maccelli both found the back of the net.

Here are three thoughts on the game from a Finnish standpoint.

Goaltending was solid

Justus Annunen and Kari Piiroinen split the game in net and both managed well despite each allowing two goals. Canada definitely had the scoring chances to win by a larger margin. Annunen had to make some difficult saves early on and Piiroinen looked really good after getting into action midway through the second period. Piiroinen was calm and confident throughout the game. He stopped four of five Canadian attempts in the shootout. Here is one of his best saves of the game:

Fourth line showed promise

The fourth line of Aatu Räty, Aku Räty and Sampo Ranta had a strong performance and got rewarded with a goal in overtime. Aku stole the puck away in the corner, showed good puck poise before finding Aatu in the slot, who set up Aku for the goal. Naturally, the Räty brothers already have great chemistry and Ranta adds lots of speed and pace. This trio has a lot of potential and they seemed to complement each other well today. Aatu showed a lot of skill on this sequence in the third period:

Defensive zone coverage needs work

The Finns were the better team in the 3-on-3 overtime, but I thought they struggled quite a bit in the defensive zone during the regulation. The team needs to tighten up the defensive zone coverage as I don’t think they moved and defended particularly well as a unit of five. On two of the Canadian goals, the Finns tried to be aggressive and outnumber them at the puck, which left space on the weak side and the opposing team took advantage of it. This is something they need to address and focus on before their first game against Sweden on the 26th.