World U17: Team Atlantic vs Team Finland – Game Story

January 3rd Team Atlantic Vs. Team Finland (U17 World Championships)This game started off a little bit slowly until Hopponen picked up a turnover right in the offensive zone to put on a good shot from the slot. The scoring opened less than 2 minutes into the game as Huuhka took a nice shot that was redirected into the top shelf by Makinen to give Finland the 1-0 lead early on. Only a minute later however Finland took a penalty and it was Highmore who had the best chance for Team Atlantic as he walked into the slot to put on a great shot from scoring position, but was stopped by Saari the Finish net-minder.
[sociallocker] Finland started pressing after this as Kapanen displayed some of his great hands and moves to walk around a defender and get in tight on the goalie for a nice chance, and Hopponen with another great chance right off the draw from the high slot as well. Lammikko had a really great drive hard to the net right off the draw as well for Finland for a chance in tight as they were very aggressive off plays on the offensive zone face-offs. Saarela was driving wide with some nice speed and puck protection to draw a penalty, and on the power play Kapanen again showed his really excellent speed, hands and agility to make some good passes. Both Mann and Tibbo did a nice job blocking shots for team Atlantic trying to keep the game close as Finland kept on pressing. Tuulola exhibited his incredible hands and skills as he had a great rush to skate the puck into the offensive zone and was moving the puck really well showing patience to make the pass to a man on the 2-on-1 opportunity to create a good scoring chance. Kapanen was also able to find lanes to rush the puck into the zone and made a beautiful centering pass to a trailing man for a great chance right in the slot as well for Finland. He then showed excellent patience again with the puck to wait for a lane to open up on the power play in the offensive zone to pass the puck cross-ice to Kiviranta for a good one-timer opportunity. Kapanen was gaining the offensive zone with ease all period long, and moving the puck down low to Hopponen who was able to walk out to the slot from beside the net for a good shot from scoring position, but was stopped at point blank. Honkanen then made a very similar play as he took the puck down low and walked out from to score on a good shot from in tight to give Finland the 2-0 lead. Bishop tried to respond for Atlantic with a nice wide drive off the rush and some good puck protection to walk in tight for a good shot but the period ended with Finland on top by 2 after 1.Period 2 started out with an excellent pass from Highmore to Kielly right in the slot for a god one-timer chance but Kielly was robbed by the Finish goalie. Going back the other way there was a battle in the corner and the puck came out to Lamsa just 1:18 into the period to give Finland the 3-0 lead on a pretty weak shot from the slot. Just a couple plays later Makinen made an excellent pass to Halli for Finland right in front of the net, as Halli jumped down low to join the attack and was just robbed at point blank by the goaltender for Atlantic. But on the power play Finland was able to strike again on another low play for Honkanen who took the puck next to the net down low and scored a goal that looked almost identical to his goal in the first period to put the shot in 5-hold and give Finland the 4-0 lead.

Atlantic kept pushing to try and get back in this game, Noel displaying some great speed and hands on his rush to drive the puck wide and cut to the net for a good shot, and then on the power play Atlantic had a play down low next to the net themselves as this seemed to be the play of the game, both teams trying to work the puck down low next to the net. Noel got the pass next to the net and moved out front to Pugsley who put the shot on and Hynes was able to bang in the rebound to score Atlantic’s 1st goal of the game. But just a minute later Finland was able to respond again as there was a battle in front and both Lammikko and Lamsa were battling hard for Finland and Lamsa ended up banging in the puck in the scramble play in front of the Atlantic goal. There were long periods of time for the rest of the period where Finland would control the play in the offensive zone and had some great puck control, and Nattinen was able to use his size to drive the puck wide and protect the puck to draw another power play for Finland. Hopponen had speed off the rush all game long and was able to make a really good centering pass to a man driving hard to the net but just couldn’t connect on the pass.

Donaghey was trying to jump down low to join the attack in the offensive zone for Atlantic, getting himself to the slot for shots, and Bishop displayed some really great hands on a nice toe-drag move to get to the slot with space for a nice opportunity. Honkanen was battling hard showing excellent strength and puck protection to drive the puck to the net, and the period ended with Bishop and Hopponen both taking coincidental penalties as they were battling hard and pushing and shoving after the whistle displaying some frustration on the side of Bishop as the period ended with Finland up 5-1.

As the third period started Kapanen was flying again and made a great pass to the far side in the offensive zone for Tervo who had jumped up on the play for a great chance but just missed the net on his opportunity. Just under 5 minutes into the first period there was some really nice passing between the line of Rantanen, Lammikko and Lamsa to get Lamsa the puck off the rush as he walked into the slot with some nice hands and moves to score on the back-hand chance. Atlantic tried to respond with a great feed down low to Tibbo who had some time and space in tight in front of the net to make a move but just couldn’t finish the play on his chance. The play went back the other way as Makinen made a great pass to Kapanen right next to the net to connect on the pass for an excellent chance from in tight, and Atlantic started to get frustrated taking some bad penalties on poor decisions.

Just when it looked like Atlantic had nothing left to give Highmore took the play by control winning a great race to the puck showing some great speed off the rush and some really nice patience to hold up and wait for a lane to open up and move the puck across to Kielly to score the team’s 2nd goal of the game. Finland responded as Kapanen took a drop pass of the rush going the other way to put a great shot on from a good scoring position, and then Kauppinen showed his great speed down low off the rush for an excellent chance on a shot from in tight. Kapanen then blew by the Atlantic team on the rush to get a 3-on-1 opportunity and made a great pass back to Nattinen right in the middle who finished the play off with a really good shot for Finland to go up 7-2. Kapanen then later made a great cross-ice feed finding lanes on the power play, and finished off the power play with a nice pass to Tuulola in the high slot to score Finland’s 8th goal of the game. The game started to get really chippy near the end with a lot of pushing and shoving and aggression shown as frustration and tempers ran high for Atlantic, and on the power play Highmore was opening up really well to take one-timer passes in the high slot, and was distributing the puck well, but the game finished with Finland on top 8-2. 3 Stars of the game:

24 Kasperi Kapanen: With 4 assists in this game it was clear that Kapanen was moving the puck very effectively. He has such great speed to blow by defenders off the rush and works hard to come back on the back-check playing a full 200-foot game. There are times he needs to do more with the puck on the power play as he will take some low chance shots and needs to have a bit more creativity to his game, but for the most part was dangerous every time he went out onto the ice with such incredible hands, skill and speed to his game.

22 Manu Honkanen: Honkanen had 2 goals in this game and was showing some tremendous battle, strength and puck protection on a few occasions to drive the puck towards the net. He can take passes well at the side of the net and walk out front to the slot for chances from in tight and is not intimidated to go to the dirty areas. He is a hard working player with a nice element of skill as well.

20 Teemu Lamsa: Lamsa had a hat trick in this game as he was able to get to some good scoring areas to get shots off with some space. He showed some nice hands and the ability to walk into the slot off the rush with speed and finished off his plays with some good shots as well.