WJC : The New Guy Backstops Finland

By Jonathan Litterine

Finnish coach Erkka Westerlund showed his players that he wasn’t fooling around. Top draft prospect Kari Lehtonen didn’t play real well against the Swiss , so Westerlund decided he wouldn’t play at all against Russia. So enter Juha Kuokkanen. Kuokkanen didn’t get much help from his Finnish teammates , but he got just enough to win 2-1. Finland’s powerplay which had a ton of chances couldn’t get anything done all night. Yet with 1:02 left in a tied third period , Jyri Marttinen beat Andrei Medvedev to give his team the lead for good. Marttinen got the feed from San Jose prospect Tero Maatta to beat Medvedev who belongs to the Calgary Flames. Russia opened the scoring when Los Angeles’ first round pick in the 2000 draft Alexander Frolov scored. Tampa property Alexander Polushin got the assist. Oddly enough, the Finns tied it on a early third period shorthanded goal from Jarkko Immonen. The game remained tied until Marttinen’s game winner with just over a minute left. Kuokkanen stopped 15 of 16 Finnish shots. Medvedev was exceptional as well stopping 33 of 35 that came his way. But in the end the penalties taken by the Russians ended up costing them the game.

Scoring Summary

2nd Per. RUS – Alexander Frolov (Alex Polushin) 33:30

3rd Per. FIN – Jarkko Immonen (Jussi Jokinen) SHG,42:54
FIN – Jyri Marttinen (Tero Maatta) PPG, 58:58


FIN – Juha Kuokkanen (16 Shots , 15 Saves) 1-0-0
RUS – Andrei Medvedev (35 Shots , 33 Saves) 1-1-0