Finland joins Canada in the final

Finland emerged victorious from a duel of goaltenders on Friday in Edmonton, beating Sweden 1-0 in the semifinals of the World Junior Hockey Championship.

The Finns thus join Canada, who disposed of the Czech Republic at the start of the day, in the final. It’s the first time in World Juniors history that these two nations will be battling for gold, even though they’ve both won three top honors since 2014.

In the duel of the day, the two masked men brilliantly defended their cage. Juha Jatkola stopped all 23 of the Swedes’ attempts, while Minnesota Wild prospect Jesper Wallstedt flinched only once on 28 shots.

The hero of the game was defender Kasper Puutio, the only player to flash the red light in 60 minutes. On the power play, he grabbed a pass from Aatu Raty before storming the Swedish defense from the outside. The Florida Panthers’ fifth-round pick finished his action by slipping the disc through Wallstedt’s pads.

At the end of the middle frame, Sweden had a golden chance to equalize, but could not take advantage of a double power play.

Puutio along with strikers Roni Hirvonen and Roby Jarventie were named the best Finnish players of the tournament after the game.

Wallstedt, defender Emil Andrae and center Ake Stakkestad received similar honors from the Swedes.

In addition, the hope of the Montreal Canadiens Petteri Nurmi was left aside for this duel, as was the selection of the first round of the Winnipeg Jets Brad Lambert.

The bronze medal game and final will be played Saturday at Rogers Place.

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