Finland learned a hard lesson on Friday at the 2017 World Junior Hockey Championship, even without playing a game: never count on someone else to do your dirty work for you.
Switzerland’s shootout win over Denmark guaranteed the defending champion Finns a spot in the relegation round, and rendered their final game today against the Swiss meaningless in every way, except perhaps for a new coach proving himself:
Drama in Team Finland. Coach Jukka Rautakorpi and 3 assistant coaches fired just now. Jussi Ahokas is the new head coach starting from now.— Sami Hoffrén (@shoffren) December 31, 2016
Ouch. The winters aren't the only cold things in Finland these days.
- Denmark jumped out to a 3-0 lead, including a goal just 20 seconds into the game, but Switzerland woke up and scored three straight goals of their own, including two from Yannick Zehnder, to tie the game. Switzerland fired 51 shots at Kasper Krog, and Marco Miranda scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Swiss their second OT win of the tournament, 5-4 over a pesky Danish squad which is proving to be a tough out.
- Latvia will be the team facing Finland in a best-of-three set to avoid relegation from next year’s WJHC. The Latvians fell 4-2 to Slovakia to end their group-play round at 0-4. Latvia jumped out to an early lead, but three goals in 6:50 of game time surrounding the second intermission were enough for Slovakia to earn their first win of the tournament.
Today at the WJHC:
- Czech Republic vs. Sweden: 1:00 p.m. ET, Bell Centre
- Canada vs. United States: 3:30 p.m. ET, Air Canada Centre
- Switzerland vs. Finland: 5:30 p.m. ET, Bell Centre
- Slovakia vs. Russia: 8:00 p.m. ET, Air Canada Centre
All games available on NHL Network in the United States. The Switzerland/Finland game will be joined in progress after the end of the Canada/USA game.