Finns squeeze past Latvia after overtime and penalties
Finland gained two points and dropped one last night in overcoming a stubborn Latvian side 3-2 (1-0, 0-1, 1-1, 0-0, 1-0), after overtime and penalties were required to separate the two sides.
The difference in the end came down to successful penalty shots from Jarkko Immonen and Mikko Koivu, who put the puck past the Latvian goalie Edgar Masalskis while World Championships débutant Teemu Lassila dealt smartly with both the Latvian attempts he had to save.
Finland's final position in Group D will now depend on the outcome of Wednesday's match against the Czech Republic, who brushed aside Denmark 6-0 in the early evening game.
The Czechs have six points to the Finns' five, so if they wish to top the group Finland will have to win that game.
It is too early to say just how many points the Finns might carry forward to the next phase, regardless of the outcome against the Czechs, as if Denmark chance to upset the Latvians in their third and final match the loss of a point on Monday night will be come irrelevant - points are carried forward only from matches against other teams that progress.
The Finns did it the hard way on Monday, squandering a bright start and a 1-0 lead after the first period and allowing the opposition back into the game and to get their noses in front through two goals while Finland was short-handed.
Jarkko Immonen scored Finland's first, and Niko Kapanen spared the Lions' blushes by getting an equaliser for 2-2 just over seven minutes from the end of the third period.
All four of the goals came on the powerplay, but in all honesty this was anything but a display of power by the Finns, who seemed out of sorts and passed up any number of chances in front of goal.
Monday's other two matches saw the United States retain their 100% record with a 4-2 win over Norway, while Sweden recorded a routine 3-0 victory over Austria.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Finnish Lions avoid Danish banana-skin in World Championships opener (2.5.2011)
IIHF World Championships (Wikipedia)