Sweden outlast Finland in Derby classic

Sweden defeated Finland 5-4 in the Opening game of Group B at the World Floorball Championship, being held in Prague, Czech Republic, on Saturday afternoon.

The game got off to the perfect start for the nine-time world champions as captain, and birthday boy, Johan Samuelsson got the game’s opening goal, scoring from close range on Essra Kosonen in the Finland goal. The assist came from Emil Johansson, who would add a second assist and goal before the tie was done.

Finland rode the pressure from Sweden and tied the game up on the counter with Peter Katilainen converting Jani Kukkola’s pass to net past Johan Rehn in the Swedish goal. It was first of many goals Finland would score on the break, demonstrating their excellent ability to break down the rink, put together rapid moves with as few passes as possible to convert chances.

The game was tied at the first intermission, 1-1 but the deadlock would be broken six minutes into the second quarter. Rasmus Enstrom (the Swedish player of the game) scored on the Powerplay from another Johansson assist as the Swedes looked to control the game with immense offensive pressure. Jani Kukkola was off the floor for roughing after he shoved Rehn after a tussle in front of goal.

The lead would last five minutes before Finland tied it up once more through another fast break. Eemeli Salin converted from right in front of goal after showing off some great stick handling off the pass of Jani Kukkola.

Sami Johannson would give Finland their first lead of the game minutes later as the Swedish defence didn’t recover to handle a fast break started by the Finnish keeper moving the ball quickly down the left wing. Rehn could do nothing on the shot rifled high between his hand and shoulder, a tough spot for a floorball goalie.

Finland was on cloud nine moments later as another fast break was converted. Joonas Pylsy scoring an assist from his goalie Kosonen, another long pass taking out the Swedish defence leaving a one on one which the offensive player won.

At the end of the second period, Finland looked good with a 4-2 lead.

The final period was dominated by Sweden, who set out to play much like they had all game and control the ball high up the rink.

Enstrom had his second goal of the contest bringing the gap down to just one goal. Enstrom’s effort was initially waved as no goal, but the official wanted a second look and called for the VAR. He went over the monitor at the side of the rink and quickly made the correct decision in awarding the goal. Kasper Hedlund was awarded the assist.

The game was tied up two minutes later thanks to incredible forecheck pressure from Alexander Carlson who forced the Finland defender into a mistake, robbing him off possession and wristing it past Kosonen.

The game-winning goal for Sweden came with just four minutes left in the contest. Jussi Piha had just been sin-binned for an aggressive body check on Jonas Svahn. He had been off the rink for mere moments as Sweden did a great job moving the ball quickly around the Finland goal in textbook powerplay fashion Enstrom hit a fast low pass to the back post, and Johansson was on hand to turn the ball in to give Sweden the win.

Sweden was able to throttle the game and close up shop as Finland were in the uncomfortable position of chasing the game. Sweden was happy to soak up the pressure as Finland pulled the goalie hoping to make the extra outfielder pay. In the end, Sweden just had too much for Finland in what many will see as a dress rehearsal for the final, for what would be the seventh time in the WFC history.

Sweden’s Player of the Game:

RASMUS ENSTROM

Enstrom had a three-point night with two goals and the game-winning assist to round off a solid night for the first liner.

Finland’s player of the game

SAMI JOHANNSSON

Johannsson had a solid game on the right wing for the third line and bagged his side’s third goal in the loss.

The Swedish birthday boy, Johan Samuelsson, was also awarded a delicious looking chocolate cake at the end of the game.

Other scores from Gameday 1

Switzerland 7 – 3 Latvia

Canada 3 – 12 Slovakia

Australia 5 – 11 Estonia

Germany – Czech Republic (evening game)

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