Draft-eligible forwardwith just over one minute remaining in the game to lead to the gold medal Saturday at the World Junior Hockey Championship with a 3-2 win over the .
The victory marks the third gold in the last six years for Finland.
Many project Kakko, 17, to be chosen second overall in the 2019 NHL Draft behind American, who picked up an assist in the United States’ silver-medal winning effort.
While Kakko may go down as the hero, goaltenderdeserves a lion’s share of the credit for the Finns’ victory. The prospect was a brick wall between the pipes, stopping 25 of 27 shots he faced.
The back-and-fourth matchup easily could’ve went in a different direction had an early call went USA’s way. In the first period, the United States had the potential first goal of the game.
Following a scoreless first period,‘s power-play marker gave the Finns the lead midway through the second frame. It wasn’t until the third period that the game began to open up, though.
‘s long-range wrister gave Finland an insurance marker six minutes into the third. However, USA quickly responded with goals less than two minutes apart from and . The game remained even until Kakko’s game-winner with less than two minutes to go in regulation.
Victorious in both 2014 and 2016, Finland’s three world junior golds are the most of any nation since 2011.
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