It’s Sweden vs. Finland for world junior hockey gold - The Buffalo News

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It’s Sweden vs. Finland for world junior hockey gold

MALMO, Sweden — Juuse Saros helped Finland beat Canada in the world junior hockey semifinals, making 23 saves in a 5-1 victory Saturday.

Finland will play Sweden in the final today. Sweden beat Russia, 2-1, in the first semifinal.

“It’s a dream final for us – Finland and Sweden,” Finnish forward Henri Ikonen said. “It’s a great rivalry. Young players like ourselves can’t imagine a better situation than that. Hopefully, I can sleep well tonight.”

Joni Nikko, Artturi Lehkonen and Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen scored in the second period to give Finland a 3-0 lead. Jonathan Drouin scored for Canada, but Teuvo Teralainen scored on a penalty shot with 3:11 to go and added an empty-net goal.

“The guys are down right now, but we’ll be ready for tomorrow,” Canadian defenseman Griffin Reinhart said of the bronze-medal game against Russia. “We’re not doing it just for ourselves but for our country and all the fans who get up tomorrow and watch.”

Oskar Sundqvist gave Sweden a 2-0 lead early in the third period.

“It was a tough game, but today we were the better team,” Sweden coach Christian Djoos said.

Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg also scored and Oscar Dansk made 26 saves. “He was unbelievable,” backup goalie Andreas Johnson said about Dansk, who plays for the Erie Otters in the Ontario Hockey League. “He made some pretty sick saves. He was great.”

Damir Zhafyarov scored for Russia, whose team includes Sabres prospects Nikita Zadorov and Mikhail Grigorenko.

“We were disappointed not to win, but that’s life,” Zhafyarov said. “We’ll be ready to fight for the bronze medal.”

Sweden, 6-0-0 in the tournament, is seeking its third title and second in three years. Finland won the last of its two titles in 1998.

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