2014 World Juniors recap: Teravainen’s three assists power Finland to gold medal
|Finland captain Teuvo Teravainen led all skaters at the 2014 IIHF U20 World Championship with 13 assists and 15 points in seven games, including helpers on all three Finland goals in their 3-2 overtime win over Sweden in the gold-medal game. (Getty Images)|
Teuvo Teravainen wasn’t the only player on the ice for Finland at World Juniors, but at times over the last two weeks, it seemed like it wouldn’t have mattered if he was. The captain of Team Finland, which won their first gold medal since 1998 with a 3-2 victory over host team Sweden, was unquestionably their best skater over the seven-game schedule, and had a strong case for overall MVP after putting up 13 assists and 15 points to lead all skaters in the competition. Chicago’s 2012 first-round draft selection also won 100 of 200 faceoffs (averaging 28.6 per game), both tournament-high marks, and was named to the Media All-Star Team.
Most importantly, Teravainen elevated his play when his team needed it most—entering both games in the medal round as underdogs against Canada and then Sweden. He picked up three points (2G, 1A) in a 5-1 win over Canada in the semifinal and followed up that effort with another three helpers in the gold-medal game.
Just 28 seconds into the contest, Esa Lindell (a 2012 draft pick of Dallas) wristed a point shot past Swedish goalie Oskar Dansk (CBJ, 2012), temporarily dampening the energy of the home crowd. Finland would preserve that lead until midway through the second period, when Sweden’s Lucas Wallmark tied the game on the power play, but they regained the lead less than a minute later when Teravainen made a nifty move down low to find linemate Saku Maenalanen (NSH, 2013) for a tap-in in front of the net. Overall, Teravainen assisted on six of Maenalanen’s tournament-high seven goals.
Instead of shock, Sweden went on the offensive, aided by four consecutive power plays. Wallmark picked up his second point of the game, finding blueliner Christian Djoos (WSH, 2012) for screened slap shot. The game remained tied at 2-2 through the end of regulation, with Sweden outshooting Finland 32-25. Due to the 4-on-4 overtime format, chances were plentiful at both ends of the ice, as players used the extra space as incentive to jump into the play—and it was on one such occasion that the golden goal was produced. Teravainen shot the puck around the board and found Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, who drove down from the point, cut to his backhand and slid the puck behind the Swedish goalie.
With that goal, Team Finland won their first medal since 2006 in tenacious fashion. Sweden, featuring 2013 fourth-round pick Robin Norell on defense, made it three straight tournaments on the podium, winning silver for the second consecutive year. Norell, a defensive-minded player, finished with one goal and a +3 plus/minus rating in seven games.