There is currently no way around Finland in world ice hockey. Like Sweden in 2006 before, the Olympic champion has now won the World Cup – in front of his own spectators and after a dramatic match.
The fourth World Cup win for Finland’s ice hockey cracks could not have been more emotional. When Zachary Manninen took the Olympic champion to the World Championships in Tampere on Sunday evening, Prime Minister Channa Marina did not stop either.
The 36-year-old gave the collective cheers after a 4: 3 overtime show against Canada with 11,486 spectators at the Nokia Arena, shortly after singing the national anthem.
After scoring in the seventh minute of extra time, Manninen, the winning goalie, said, “It feels great to have a gold medal hanging around your neck in your own arena.” Sweden last won the World Cup in 2013 in front of its own fans. “I don’t know what happened there, I just saw the goal and enjoyed that moment,” defender Sami Watanen said. It was not clear to him alone that this would be the start of a long night: “We’ll start with the beer and see how it ends.”
Manninen: “I really feel every emotion I have”
One year ago, the current Ne Plus Ultra in World Ice Hockey lost to Finland in the World Cup final in Riga, Canada, shortly after that time. The 15 Olympic champions from Beijing, fortified with some NHL stars, were now able to take revenge – with a delay. Finns felt the world champion 132 seconds before the end of regulation time, when two late goals from the mentally strong Canadians again raised suspicion. “I’m empty. I really feel every emotion I have,” Manninen continued after the winner, Michael Granland, used a controversial penalty against 27-time champion Canada in the pass.
Finland and Canada have met in the final four times in the last six World Cups. As of 2019, the Finns have won their national game. With the exception of Manninen and Granland, who scored twice in the final, national coach Juca Jalonen and captain Valteri Filpula can now feel like national heroes. After 2011 and 2019, Jallonen is now a three-time world champion coach, coach of the Olympic champions and has long enjoyed a cult status.
Captain Philpula is also included in the elite “Triple Gold Club” which is open to all athletes who have won at least one Stanley Cup, one Olympic gold medal and one World Championship trophy each. Although Finland has already produced all the world-class players, the 38-year-old forward is the first Finn to do so.
(In Carsten Lappe And Christina Buckdpa)
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