Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Watch: Kasperi Kapanen Takes Finland to the Promised Land

Kasperi Kapanen's OT winner at 1:33 gave Team Finland the 2016 World Junior Championships title in Helsinki, capping off a dramatic finish to one of the best gold medal games we've seen at any level in recent memory.

Russia tied the game with 6.9 seconds left on a goal by Andrei Svetlakov just about two minutes after Finland had notched what many believed would stand as the game winner. Svetlakov has also put Russia up 2-1 earlier in the third with a blistering wrister from the front of the left circle. But Finland would tie on a Sebastian Aho goal from pointbland range at 10:07 of the third.

Mikko Rantanen put the Finns ahead with a power play marker at 17:51 of the third before Russia mounted its late surge to force OT.

The victory gives Finland its second gold medal in three years. Russia takes home silver for the second consecutive year.

En route to the title, the Finns scored 35 goals to equal their offensive output from 1998, when they also defeated Russia in overtime for gold in Helsinki. Jesse Puljujarvi (17 points), Sebastian Aho (14 points) and Patrick Laine (13 points) finished 1-2-3 in tournament scoring.

Finland's Puljujarvi was voted Most Valuable Player of the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship. Here's a list of the top positional players for the tournament as well as the all-star team (voted by media).

Goalie: Linus Soderstrom, Sweden
Defenceman: Zach Werenski, USA
Forward: Jesse Puljujarvi, Finland

Accredited media votes for the All-Star Team as well as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Goaltender: Linus Soderstrom, Sweden
Defenceman: Olli Juolevi, Finland
Defenceman: Zach Werenski, USA
Forward: Jesse Puljujarvi, Finland
Forward: Patrik Laine, Finland
Forward: Auston Matthews, USA
MVP: Jesse Puljujarvi, Finland

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