In the preamble, the atmosphere is simply extraordinary. All dressed in white “Suomi” jerseys, the home fans proudly tackle the shoulder-worn jersey. The Finns in blue on the ice, therefore faced his Norwegian rival in white. A first round of observation is to be notified. The two teams become aware of the stakes and the competition which is being played out on Finnish soil. It is always difficult to be the organizing country, the final victory is wanted by the 5.5 million inhabitants.
The first freeze of the game, comes after the fourth minute by Olkinuora on a shy Norwegian shot. Manninen replies in stride but his backhand cross shot grazes the crossbar of the cage guarded by Haukeland. The Isbjørnene lock in their opponent perfectly. They know it’s up to Finland to make the play and coach Petter Thorensen’s tactic is counterattack.
Precisely, Jakobsson goes against and gives the puck to Trettenes from the left flank. The shooting is correct but does not worry the local doorman. Finland fails to control the puck, the pressure is there. Ohtamaa is on the left and sees close to the Armia enclave which deviates. Haukeland is vigilant on his line. The minutes pass without a goal being scored. Twice, Krogdahl tried from a distance and sent shivers down the rink. It is just before the break that the meeting will be unlocked. Finland pushes on the opposing goal. Filppula is on the left. He finds it at the Armia center. Small problem in the Norwegian defense: Personen is completely alone in front of the cage and is happy to score the first goal of the tournament for his country (18:29; 1-0). Thorensen is berserk, as his plan had worked.
Shots: 8 FIN / 11 NOR
Norway pays for its mistakes
The goal scored before the break was good for Finland who now control the puck. Haga absolutely wants the puck but interferes (21’33). Twice, the locals shot from a distance when it is not necessary: the shifts must be made. Pesonen leads the game and shows his advantage only at the end of the superiority. Jalonen’s men want to score the second goal at all costs. Without solutions and trapped by the Finnish game which is better, Norway only tries long shots. The game is too readable.
Armia offers a first superiority to his opponent for too intense pressing and contradicts the decision of the official. The Norwegians discover themselves a little more and finally take initiatives. However, the locals defend well. After this power play, the Finnish machine will get going and will exploit the slightest enemy flaws. Krogdahl in the defensive zone and alone, tries to clear the puck. He misses his gesture and is pressed by Sallinen. Krogdahl gets rid of the puck in the direction of Rajala. The latter did not need to be asked and turned on the Norwegian goalkeeper (31’37; 2-0). Visitors no longer have a choice and must now take more risks to reduce the mark. Fladeby goes up the ice on his own. He fails to distribute the puck before the blue line for his partner Rosseli Olsen. Pokka recovers the puck, distributes for Anttila who skates at full speed on the right. There is no longer anyone in defense and Bjorminen concludes easily (36:06; 3-0). Finland returns to the locker room having largely dominated the period.
Shots: 14 FIN / 3 NOR
Armia puts on a show
The morale in the skates, the Norwegians return without convictions on the ice, after a weak second third. As for the Finns, they are now comfortable and confident. From the start, Johannesen is sanctioned for a delay in the game, largely avoidable. The Finnish game is fluid, fast. Everything is set up and worked. From right to left, Vatanen finds near the circle of engagement, the player of the Montreal Canadiens, Armia. He finds the top corner of Haukeland (41:36; 4-0).
Since prison, Johannesen has held his head with both hands. His mistake is fatal and is paid cash, only after twenty seconds in power play. With that fourth goal, Finland can turn their lines further as another game awaits the tournament hosts on Saturday. This period will be marked by numerous penalties for fighting and misconduct. Before the end of the game, Sallinen will score a fifth goal. Well served in the center by Friman, he found the frame (57:56; 5-0).
Shots: 10 FIN / 6 NOR
Successful entry for tournament hosts! By scoring this first goal at the end of the first period, the pressure dissipated. Norway could not compete despite a good start, it is not enough.