International Ice Hockey Federation

Finland wins first test

Finland wins first test

U19 teams convened in Switzerland

Published 15.08.2018 01:05 GMT-4 | Author Martin Merk
Finland wins first test
Jussi Ahokas took over the Finnish U20 national team during the last World Juniors and also coached the U19 team in February to launch the preparation for the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship. Photo: Francois Laplante / HHOF-IIHF Images
Several international tournaments took place in the second week of February including the first one focusing on the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship.

A bit over a month after the end of the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship in Canada, it was the younger class of 1998 that started preparing for next winter’s World Juniors at a Five Nations Tournament for U19 teams in the Swiss town of Zuchwil.

It was an outcome with opposite signs compared to what we’ve seen in Montreal and Toronto. Finland, which went from the defending champion to a relegation-round participant a few weeks ago, won the tournament with a 3-1 record. Host Switzerland, which made the final round in Canada and was not far from a quarter-final upset against eventual champion USA, finished in last place with zero points and a 1-19 goal record.

The Finns without returning players from the World Juniors but coach Jussi Ahokas suffered a 5-4 overtime loss to the Czechs on the first day but then bounced back with wins over eventual runner-up Sweden (4-0), Germany (5-2) and Switzerland (5-1) to move to first place. Jere Innala led the tournament in goal scoring with five markers, his teammate Jerry Turkulainen also had five points (3+2). Sweden’s Oskar Steen was the scoring leader of the tournament with three goals and nine points followed by two teammates, Jesper Boqvist (4+4) and defenceman Gustav Lindstrom (1+6).

The two Nordic countries also had the statistically best-performing goaltenders. Swedish netminder Tim Hultstrand had a 93.75 save percentage in his two starts, Finland’s Niilo Halonen reached 93.1 in his three games.

Five Nations Tournament            
7 Feb.   Zuchwil (SUI)   Czech Rep.   Finland   5-4 OT
7 Feb.   Zuchwil (SUI)   Switzerland   Sweden   0-6
8 Feb.   Zuchwil (SUI)   Sweden   Czech Rep.   6-3
8 Feb.   Zuchwil (SUI)   Germany   Switzerland   5-0
9 Feb.   Zuchwil (SUI)   Czech Rep.   Germany   4-2
9 Feb.   Zuchwil (SUI)   Finland   Sweden   4-0
10 Feb.   Zuchwil (SUI)   Germany   Finland   2-5
10 Feb.   Zuchwil (SUI)   Switzerland   Czech Rep.   0-3
11 Feb.   Zuchwil (SUI)   Sweden   Germany   7-2
11 Feb.   Zuchwil (SUI)   Finland   Switzerland   5-1
Standings: 1. Finland 10, 2. Sweden 9, 3. Czech Rep. 8, 4. Germany 3, 5. Switzerland 0


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