DOMINANT FIRST PERIOD LEADS FINNS TO SEVENTH PLACE
JASON LA ROSE
EDMONTON, Alta. – Henrik Nikkanen led the way with two goals and four assists, and Finland scored five times in the first period of an 8-2 win over Switzerland in the seventh-place game Friday at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
Patrik Puistola added a hat trick and two assists, and Kasper Simontaival had five helpers for the Finns, who finally earned their first win of the tournament.
The Swiss scored first when Johan Andersson beat Kari Piiroinen just 5:19 in, but it was all Finland after that; shots in the first period finished 24-3 in favour of the Finns, and goals from Mikko Kokkonen, Nikkanen (two), and Puistola (two) made it a 5-1 game after 20 minutes.
Puistola finished his hat trick just past the midway mark of a three-goal second period, chasing Swiss netminder Thibault Fatton with a power-play marker.
The Puistola-Nikkanen-Simontaival line did all the damage for the Finns, combining for five of the eight goals and 16 points. In addition to Kokkonen, Veeti Miettinen and Aku Räty counted goals.
Yves Stoffel had the other goal for the Swiss, who finished winless for the second time in three years.
Piiroinen made with 20 saves in the Finnish goal, while Sascha Ruppelt stopped 12 of 13 after replacing Fatton.