With the World Junior Championship being hosted in Helsinki, Finland this year, the hosting team decided to establish dominance early in the competition with a huge win over Belarus in the first game. That’s exactly what they did, scoring 6 goals in the last 23 minutes of play to bring the final score to 6-0.
The first period of play started off somewhat slow, with Finland coming at Belarus with brute force, dominating the puck and giving Belarus’ defense all they had until it cracked. With not only the President of the Republic of Finland in attendance, but Ville Peltonen, Saku Koivu, and Jere Lehtinen as well, whose national team numbers were retired in a ceremony prior to the game, as well as a home crowd, Team Finland had plenty of weight on their shoulders. The Finns dominated the first period, outshooting Belarus 14-2, but Belarus’ defense and goaltender stayed strong, ending the period at 0-0.
Early in the second period, Alexander Tabolin of Belarus blind-sided Joni Tuulola in the neutral zone and was given 2+10 minute penalties, sending Finland on the powerplay. Despite their heavy artillery, it took Finland until 17:14 of the second period to take the lead after a beautiful goal from Jesse Puljujarvi. After ending the second period with a 1-0 lead, Finland struck again early, extending their lead to 2. The barrage of offense was relentless through the rest of the game, with Finland ending it at 6-0, not giving Belarus a single chance to even the score and ending the first game of the competition in Finnish style.