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Finland wins world junior hockey title, beating US 3-2

January 6, 2019

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Kaapo Kakko beat goalie Cayden Primeau on a backhander off a rebound with 1:26 left to give Finland its fifth world junior hockey title, 3-2 over the United States on Saturday night.

Kakko broke a tie after the United States rallied on goals by Alexander Chmelevski and Josh Norris in a 1:46 span midway through the third.

On the winning play, Anton Lundell won the draw in the U.S. zone and defenseman Henri Jokirharju got the puck at the blue line. Lundell couldn’t bang in the rebound from Jokiharju’s shot, but Kakko backhanded it past Primeau’s outstretched right pad.

Jesse Ylonen opened the scoring on a power play midway through the second period, and Otto Latvala made it 2-0 in the third — 1:01 before the U.S. began the rally.

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 26 saves for Finland. Primeau stopped 28 shots.

Finland also won titles in 1987, 1998, 2014 and 2016. The U.S. won the last of its four titles in 2017.

In the third-place game, Kirill Slepets had a hat trick and Russia beat Switzerland 5-2.

Klim Kostin and Nikita Shashkov also scored for Russia, and Pyotr Kochetkov stopped 34 shots. Valentin Nussbaumer and Yannick Bruschweiler scored for Switzerland, and Luca Hollenstein made 19 saves.

The United States faced Finland later Saturday in the title game.

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