Solid play from goaltender Joni Ortio and a strong forecheck helped Finland win its second straight game with a 5-1 win over Germany in the IIHF World Junior Championships at HSBC Arena Wednesday afternoon.
Ortio made 28 saves, some rather impressive, while the Finnish offense was quick moving with a relentless forecheck, particularly in the second period.
By winning Finland earned three points and moved ahead of the United States in the Group A standings. The Americans had Wednesday off and have five points through two games while the Finns have seven points through three games, including an opening overtime loss to the U.S.
The Finnish team seems to be getting stronger as each game, each period, unfolds.
"We didn't play so much with this roster before the tournament," Finnish captain Sami Vatanen said. "Everybody now knows each other. You have to get stronger all the time."
Finland dominated the second period, holding a 19-6 advantage in shots and turning a 1-0 lead in a relatively even game into a 4-0 rout.
"I think there was some mental problems before the game," said Finland's Joonas Donskoi, who had a goal and an assist. "We thought that Germany would be an easy game but it's really not. They have a good team."
It was a relatively even first period, before Finland took control in the second with good puck possession and by creating opportunities through turnovers and aggressive play.
With 13:37 left in the period, Miikka Salomak picked up a loose puck in the Germany zone, skated to the middle of the ice and fired a shot past Phillipp Grubauer to give Finland a 2-0 lead.
A pair of goals 1:32 apart late in the period blew the game open for Finland. Donskoi drove home a puck played out in front of the net by Julius Junttila while Jesse Virtanen picked up a loose puck, skated down the center of the ice and scored for a 4-0 advantage.
"We picked up a couple of easy goals and things got rolling like we wanted," Vatanen said. "I think a couple of fast goals were the turning point."
Germany pulled Grubauer at that point after he had made 24 saves but let in four goals. Niklas Treutle replaced him, making four saves in 4:41 of play in the second.
In the third, Germany's Tobias Rieder picked up a loose puck, skated in along on Ortio and used a good deke to move the Finnish goalie and put the Germans on the board.
Finland has today and will finish preliminary play against Slovakia at 12:30 on Friday in HSBC Arena.
Germany, still winless in this tournament, will conclude its preliminary play against the United States at 7 tonight in HSBC Arena.