Tuesday, August 30, 2016

2004 Finland National Team Teemu Selanne Jersey

On this date in 2004, the World Cup of Hockey got underway with the opening game of the tournament featuring Finland hosting the Czech Republic in front of 11,407 in Hartwall Arena in Helsinki.

Tomas Vokoun got the start in goal for the Czechs, while the Finns countered with Miikka Kiprusoff.

Kiprusoff photo Kiprusoff.png
Miikka Kiprusoff

The first period ended with Finland on top thanks to a goal at 6:33 by Jukka Hentunen from Niko Kapanen.

Hentunen goal photo Hentunen goal.png
Jukka Hentunen opened the tournament scoring in the first period

The second period went by with no scoring despite a power play for the Czechs and three times on the man advantage for Finland.

The third period could not have begun any better for Finland, as Saku Koivu converted from Jere Lehtinen at the thirty second mark to double the Finnish lead to 2-0. With Martin Skoula off for holding at 4:09, Finland converted the power play opportunity when Kapanen scored at 4:56 from Sami Salo and Ville Peltonen to put the Finns up 3-0.

Niko Kapanen photo Niko Kapanen.png
Niko Kapanen gave Finland a 3 goal lead

The final nail in the coffin arrived at 11:09 when Mikko Eloranta beat Vokoun for a 4 goal lead with assists from Kimmo Timonen and Mikko Koivu.

Eloranta photo Eloranta.jpg
Mikko Eloranta scored the fourth Finnish goal

Kiprusoff would complete the all to easy shutout, as the Czechs only managed a mere 12 shots for the entire game, while Finland nearly tripled that with 34 against Vokoun. Finland's 13 first period shots were more than the Czechs manged for the entire game.

Kiprusoff photo Kiprusoff shutout.png
Kiprusoff finished off the shutout for Finland

Finland would go on to a 2-0-1 record for 5 points in the European Pool and would win the group over Sweden, who they tied at 4-4 on September 4th, thanks to a +7 goal differential versus Sweden's +4 thanks to their opening game 4 goal win over the Czechs, as Sweden would only edge the Czechs by one, 4-3, two days later. Both teams had defeated Germany by the same three goal margin.

All four teams from the European Pool would advance to the Quarterfinals. Finland again defeated Germany in Helsinki, but by a much closer 2-1 score. The Czechs rebounded with a rather surprising 6-1 thrashing of Sweden in a game held in Stockholm.

Finland then advanced to face the United States in St. Paul, Minnesota, where they advanced to the final after coming from behind 1-0 with 15 minutes left to play by scoring twice in the third period to win 2-1 in front of 18,064 disappointed American fans.

Kiprusoff Esche photo Kiprusoff Esche.png
Kiprusoff outdueled American Robert Esche
to send Finland to the World Cup final

The Czechs had a tough task, as they were paired with Canada in Toronto, but acquitted themselves well, taking the Canadians to overtime before falling 4-3.

The Finns would finish as runners-up following a 3-2 loss in the final to the Canadians.

Today's featured jersey is a 2004 Finland National Team Teemu Selanne jersey. Finland first wore this style for the 1998 Oympics in Nagano, Japan with the crest reading "Suomi". For the 2002 Olympics, the crest was altered to read "Finland" with Suomi now printed boldly across the waist. This would be the final appearance for this jersey, as Nike would introduce a new style for the 2005 World Championships.

Finland 2004 WCOH jersey photo Finland 2004 WCOH F.jpg
 Finland 2004 WCOH jersey photo Finland 2004 WCOH B.jpg

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 2004 Czech Repbulic National Team Jaromir Jagr jersey. This jersey features not only the 2004 World Cup of Hockey logo patch, but also the #21 memorial patch for Ivan Hlinka, one time head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins who was to have been the head coach for the Czechs at the 2004 World Cup, but he was killed in a car accident on August 16th, two weeks before the start of the tournament.

As a player, Hlinka was a three time World Champion who also won five silver and two bronze World Championship medals as well as silver and bronze Olympic hockey medals

In addition to wearing the #21 Hlinka memorial patch, Czech team captain Robert Reichel, who normally wore #21, changed to #22 for the tournament in Hlinka's honor.

This striking Czech jersey arrived in 2003 and was worn through the 2005 World Championships until being replaced for the 2006 Olympic games with the arrival of the new Nike Swift jerseys.

Czech Republic 2004 WCOH jersey photo Czech Republic 2004 WCOH R F.jpg
Czech Republic 2004 WCOH jersey photo Czech Republic 2004 WCOH R B.jpg
 Czech Republic 2004 WCOH jersey photo Czech Republic 2004 WCOH R P1.jpg

Today's video section is highlights of the opening game of the 2004 World Cup of Hockey between Finland and the Czech Republic on this date in 2004.

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