Gold Medal Game: Finland 3-1 Canada
Finland were coming into the match as severe underdogs despite their great results with an NHL-less roster. They did manage to beat Russia in the semifinals 1-0 as well as defeating Canada in the opening match of Group A.
Canada came through the semifinals after a very strong showing in a 5-1 win over the Czech Republic, with Matt Murray putting in a great shift to keep almost all Czech shots away.
Darnell Nurse had the first shot of the match during a period of domination by Canada to start the match. The Finland captain Marko Anttila took the first penalty of the match, a minor for elbowing, though the call was very harsh as the hit seemed hard but fair. Finland got a breakaway shorthanded but Oliwer Kaski got tripped up before being able to get a shot away. Finland got a penalty shot, but Kaski only hit Matt Murray’s stick.
Shea Theodore opened the scoring after ten minutes, breaking through the Finnish blue line, dekeing around the defending Finns and beat Kevin Lankinen glove side.
Darnell Nurse played the role of the agitator since the beginning and he was finally punished, provoking Petteri Lindbohm into an altercation that resulted in Lindbohm slamming Nurse to the ice. Nurse received a double minor, one of them served by Marchessault, while Lindbohm came away with a regular minor penalty.
After failing to take advantage of the powerplay, Finland were shorthanded again after Juhani Tyrvainen took a cross-checking penalty. The scorer of the only goal up to that point, Shea Theodore took a tripping penalty early in the second period. This time, Finland took advantage as captain Marko Anttila received a pass from Sakari Manninen and his wrist shot beat Murray, tying the game up at 1-1.
In the following eight minutes after Anttila’s goal, the game jumped into another gear tempo-wise, with Finland producing chance after chance but Murray turning them all away. The game was still tied up at 1-1 after the second period.
Finland began the third period shorthanded as there were 47 seconds left on the tripping penalty of Jani Hakanpaa, but Finland killed it off successfully. Marko Anttila got a second for Finland with 17:25 to go, sending the team he captains into the lead. A one-timer after a low-to-high pass by Veli-Matti Savinainen made the mostly Finnish crowd erupt in joy.
Canada have been putting the pressure on and they still trailed by one with 5:23 to go, severely outshooting Finland 38 to 21. Harri Pesonen made it 3-1 with just a little over four minutes to go, Canada kicking themselves after they had chances to tie it up.
Matt Murray got pulled with 3:52 to go, Canada managed the keep the offensive zone for over two minutes, taking shot after shot, Lankinen finally covered with 1:24 to go to help Finland settle down. Alain Vigneault took Canada’s timeout with 52 seconds to go after Finland iced the puck.
Finland held on and became the 2019 IIHF World Champions, defeating Canada 3-1! The captain Marko Anttila, who turned the match around with two goals, hoisted the cup just like Finland seven years ago in the very same arena. Finland defeated Canada by the same score in the opening game of the tournament.
Bronze Medal Game: Russia 3-2 Czech Republic (SO)
Russia are coming into this match with a lot of frustration and disappointment, unable to reach the final despite stars like Andrei Vasilevskiy, Evgeni Malkin, or Alexander Ovechkin. They were shut out by Finland’s Kevin Lankinen in the semifinals, but are still favorites for the bronze.
The Czech Republic were beaten quite heavily by Canada in the semifinals, their offensive talent limited by Canada’s organized defense and a brilliant performance by Matt Murray, going out with a 5-1 loss.
The Czech Republic took the first penalty of the game four minutes in, Tomas Zohorna’s high-sticking punished by a two-minute minor. The Russian frustration continued as the Czechs killed off the penalty. Russia scored the opener after 13 minutes, Mikhail Grigorenko deflecting the shot of Mikhail Sergachev past Simon Hrubec.
Czech Republic’s Michal Repik tied the game up just 41 seconds later. Repik was unmarked as he received a pass from David Sklenicka on zone entry, earning a breakaway and beating Andrei Vasilevskiy through the five-hole. With less than 90 seconds to go in the first period, Dominik Kubalik’s one-timer after a pass from behind the goal by Jan Kovar beat Vasilevskiy and Czechs went ahead. The match started off a little slow, but the pace and intensity really picked up after the opening goal by Russia, with Czechs managing to turn the result around before the first period was over.
Just 39 seconds into the second period, Russia tied the game up to 2-2. Artem Anisimov’s one-timer deflected off of a Czech defenseman and trickled into the net through Hrubec’s five-hole.
The third period was scoreless despite the Czechs unleashing a flurry of 18 shots to Russia’s five. After letting in two in the first period, Andrei Vasilevskiy looked like the World’s best goaltender in the third period, turning aside shot after shot. Vasilevskiy held solid throughout ten minutes of three-on-three overtime, ultimately saving 48 out of 50 shots.
The Bronze Medal Match went down to the shootout. All of the Russian shooters, Ilya Kovalchuk, Nikita Kucherov, and Nikita Gusev, put their shots past Hrubec. Jakub Vrana, Dominik Kubalik, Jan Kovar, Filip Hronek; none of them could beat Vasilevskiy, who almost single-handedly won the bronze medal for Russia. Despite getting severely outshot, Russia won the bronze medal in the end with Andrei Vasilevskiy being the clear MVP for them in this final match.
The IIHF Directorate awarded the best goaltender to Andrei Vasilevskiy, the best defenseman to Filip Hronek, and the best forward to Nikita Kucherov.
The Media All-Star team consisted of Andrei Vasilevskiy in goal, Filip Hronek and Mikko Lehtonen as the defensemen, and Jakub Voracek, William Nylander, and Mark Stone as the forwards, with Stone being the Most Valuable Player of the 2019 IIHF World Championships
The author's All-Star votes went to Kevin Lankinen, Filip Hronek, Dmitry Orlov, Jakub Voracek, Mark Stone, and Kaapo Kakko.