Team is far from Finnished

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:58 AM ET

THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. -- Going into the third period of yesterday's game, it looked like Team Finland was all but left for dead. Trailing 4-1 going into the third period of yesterday's match with Sweden, the Finns were on the verge of all but being eliminated from medal contention.

Especially since their last remaining game is against front-runner Canada.

Funny what can transpire in 20 minutes.

Thanks to an incredible four-goal outburst and the subsequent 5-4 win, the Finns head into today's game with hope.

They control their own destiny as a win, even a tie, would automatically mean a berth in the medal round.

"Everything's open for us now," said Calgary Flames draft choice Aki Seitsonen amidst the post-game euphoria.

Considering not many would expect the kind of comeback that transpired in Thief River Falls, anything is possible.

Most pundits won't give Finland much of a chance against a Canadian team that's outscored its opponents 24-4 in three games so far but a wave of optimism has spread throughout the Finland bunch.

"If we play like we played in the third period (yesterday), we have a chance," said Seitsonen, who toils for the Prince Albert Raiders. "I think it's the biggest test in the tournament. When we played the exhibition game in Winnipeg, we saw how they play.

"We just have to believe in ourselves."

A loss to the powerful Canadians would leave the Finns watching tomorrow night's meeting between Slovakia and Sweden hoping for the right result.

Should Sweden beat Slovakia in the final round-robin match, it'll create a three-way tie for second place in the pool and only the top three clubs advance to the medal round.

The format is based on goal differential between the tied clubs, so the Finns would need Sweden to lose or tie or beat the Slovaks by at least four goals.

Seitsonen said he'd rather just earn a win or tie with Canada and forego the mathematic equation from coming into play.

"We have to play really hard defensively," he said. "We can't have any turnovers, get pucks deep from the bluelines and every chance we get hit. We'll have to play hard."

"We know it's going to be one of the best, I think the best team, in this tournament," added Finland assistant coach Petri Matikainen.


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