Well how about this? A Gold Medal game will not feature Canada, Russia or Sweden for the first time in 18 years. This year it will be United States and Finland. The 2 matched up on New Years Eve in a game that saw that Americans win 4-1. Let’s see who has the advantage.
Hard to argue a team that has Ryan Poehling, Oliver Wahlstrom, Jack Hughes and Joel Farabee leading the way. Finland is still very young, namely Kappo Kakko has impressed the tournament but still is wearing a cage. Eeli Tolvanen, Rasmus Kupari and Aleksi Heponiemi had a disappointing Round Robin but have played much better in the elimination games. I’ll give the slight edge to USA here, Ryan Poehling might be tournament MVP and Jack Hughes hasn’t missed a step since returning from injury in the Quarterfinals.
Finland has 2 big names on defense and I’d be surprised if either was ever not on the ice tonight. Henri Jokiharju is on loan from the Blackhawks and has changed the dynamic on this Finnish team. Same goes for Urho Vaakanainen who played games for Boston this year. Both players can play upwards of 30 minutes and will have their hands full against Poehling and Hughes. For the States, I like Quinn Hughes offensive ability but he needs to calm his game down and focus on the backend tonight. Mikey Anderson and K’Andre Miller are good depth guys but I’ll give the edge to Finland here and how strong the top 2 are.
Kyle Keyser started the tournament for the States but it’s now Cayden Primeau’s net and he has looked fantastic, especially yesterday against Russia. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has been the top goalie of this tournament and has yet to have a real bad game. He looked great against Canada and didn’t need much against the Swiss but I’ll say the Goaltending in tonight’s matchup is a wash.
I’ll take USA 3-1 in a close game. At the end of the day the lack of depth for Finland will show as the offence dries up. Hughes and Poehling will be too much to handle.
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