Finland strikes late, tops USA for Gold at World Juniors with 3-2 win


VANCOUVER, BC – JANUARY 5: Ryan Poehling #11 of the United States tries to redirect a shot while standing in front of goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen #1 of Finland in Gold Medal hockey action of the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship on January, 5, 2019 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Samuli Vainionpaa #12 […]

Kaapo Kakko broke a 2-2 tie in the final minutes of the third period to lift Finland to Gold at the World Junior Championships with a 3-2 win over the United States on Saturday.

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, who was selected in the second round of the 2017 draft by the Sabres, was in net and earned the win for Finland. He was joined by fellow Blue & Gold prospect Oskari Laaksonen, who was taken in the third round by Buffalo in the 2017 draft, in winning Gold.

The Sabres second round pick in the 2018 draft, Mattias Samuelsson, earned a Silver Medal with the United States.

Team USA looked to strike through midway through the first period, however, the referees waved off the goal.

As Ryan Poehling skated in, his shot went high off the board and over the net in front of the crease.  During the scramble for the puck, Oliver Wahlstrom corralled the puck and looked to score, however the refs ruled Alexander Chmelevski was in the crease with and disallowed the goal.

Finland would break the scoreless stalemate in the second period with a tally from Jesse Ylonen and would open a 2-0 lead with another goal from Otto Latvala in the third period.

Chmelevski would get the Red, White and Blue on the board a few minutes later to pull within one.  Josh Norris to tie the game at two less than two minutes later.

Finland also won Gold in 2016, 2014, 1999 and 1987.

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