Monday, May 16, 2011

2008 Finland National Team Mikko Koivu Jersey

For the first time in 16 years, and only the second time in their history, Finland have won the World Championship following their 6-1 thrashing of arch-rivals Sweden.

Koivu Finland Trophy
Finland's captain Mikko Koivu is thrilled to hoist
the World Championship trophy

After a scoreless first period Sweden scored the first goal when Magnus Pääjärvi gave Sweden and their fans a false sense of hope with a laser beam of a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle that beat Peteri Vehanen on his glove side and into the upper corner of the net.

Sweden nearly went ahead by two when they hit a post while on a power play, but when Finland got a late power play, they were able to convert with just seven second remaining in the period when the tournament's leading scorer Jarkko Immonen, after skating in from the left point, blasted a shot past Sweden's Viktor Fasth to give the Finns a huge boost heading into the final intermission.

It would not take Finland long to seize the lead. Just 2:35 into the third Pettri Nokelainen converted a pass from Antti Pihlström after sneaking in behind the Swedish defense and one timing the puck into the net and sending Fasth's water bottle flying. Less than one minute later Niko Kapanen banged in a loose puck after a Swedish turnover deep in their own zone for a 3-1 margin and the Finns were on their way, this after NHL shootout specialist Mikko Koivu failed to convert a breakaway chance moments earlier.

The period continued for the next 13 minutes with Sweden failing to beat Vehanen to close the gap before the wheels came off for Sweden. First Janne Pesonen extended the lead to three with a goal at 16:41 when he sped around the Swedish defense, picked up a dump in off the end boards, skated across the front of the net and deposited a backhander into the net behind Fasth.

Mika Pyörälä then got the party started early when he put another one past Fasth just 35 seconds later and the rout was on. Pihlström capped off the scoring and really kicked the party into high gear with Finland's fifth goal of the period with just 55 seconds remaining in the game to make the final score an unbelievable 6-1, no doubt sending the citizens of Helsinki into the night in full song.

Finland trophy celebration

Since winning their first World Championship, in Sweden, in 1995, Finland had made the gold medal final four times, coming up short on each occasion, so to not only win, but win big and over their main rivals Sweden, made this victory that much sweeter.

In the earlier game, the Czech Republic captured the bronze by outlasting Russia 7-4 in the tournament's highest scoring game.

Finland's destruction of Sweden sets up an interesting scenario, as the two countries will co-host the next two World Championships, with the games being divided between Stockholm, Sweden and Helsinki, Finland, with the finals in 2012 being held in Helsinki and the 2013 finals located in Stockholm.

Today's featured jersey is a 2008 Finland National Team Mikko Koivu jersey, as worn in the 2008 World Championships. This jersey features the IIHF 100th Anniversary patch on the rear hem as worn by all the teams in that year's edition of the World Championships. It also sports the Finnair sponsorship patches on the arms, giving the jersey it's distinctive World Championship look.

While Koivu was only an assistant captain in 2008, he carried on the family tradition established by his older brother Saku Koivu, the long-time captain of the Finland National Team.

Finland 2008 jersey
Finland 2008 jersey

Today's video section is extended highlights of the gold medal final of the 2001 IIHF World Championships from Slovakia.

Here's more of the Finns taking to the streets of Helsinki following their championship, clothing optional.

Our Third String Goalie Finnish hockey name is Antti Jokinen.

To get your own Finnish hockey name, try the Third String Goalie
Hockey Name Generator!

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