MALMO, Sweden — Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen scored at 9:42 of overtime to give Finland its third world junior hockey title, 3-2 over Sweden on Sunday.
Ristolainen picked up the puck along the right boards, beat defenseman Robert Hagg as he cut in front of the goal and slid a backhander under goalie Oscar Dansk’s right leg pad.
“I saw that they played man-on-man defense in their own end,” said Ristolainen, who has one goal in 19 games this season for Buffalo, which selected him in the first round, eighth overall, in last June’s NHL Draft. “It was empty in front of the net. I just skated there. I tried just to put the puck somewhere hard and it went in.”
Finland also won the under-20 event in 1987 in Czechoslovakia and 1998 at home in Helsinki.
“Nobody trusted us to win, but we trusted,” said Chicago prospect Teuvo Teravainen, the tournament scoring leader. “We knew we were going to be a good team and we had a chance to win this tournament. It’s an awesome feeling right now.”
Sweden tied it at 2 on Christian Djoos’ power-play goal with 9:07 left in the third period. The Washington draft pick beat goalie Juuse Saros with a slap shot through traffic from the high slot.
“We were playing in their zone the whole game,” said Swedish captain Filip Forsberg, the Nashville forward selected the tournament MVP. “Obviously, it’s hard to lose like this.”
Sweden lost after winning its first six games in the tournament.
Finland’s Era Lindell — drafted by Dallas — scored 28 seconds into the game, and Lucas Wallmark tied it on a power play at 7:53 of the second. Finland regained the lead 45 seconds later on Nashville draft pick Saku Maenalanen’s goal.
Saros, also drafted by Nashville, made 35 saves.
In the third-place game, Russia beat Canada 2-1. Buffalo center Mikhail Grigorenko and Eduard Gimatov had first-period goals for Russia, and Josh Morrissey scored for Canada in the third. It’s the second straight year Russia has beaten Canada in the third-place game.
“We beat them again, so it’s a good time right now,” Grigorenko said. “It’s a tough game to prepare for, but once it starts you just play hockey and want to win the game.”