Finland’s teenage sensation Kaapo Kakko scored a hat-trick as the Lions fought for a 4-2 victory over Slovakia at the ice hockey World Championships.
The stakes in Kosice on Saturday night were high, with both teams coming off big opening wins: the Finns had beaten Canada, while the Slovaks had trounced America.
But it was the young, relatively inexperienced Finnish side which emerged as winners with three goals from Kako and a fourth from Petteri Lindbohm.
The win puts Finland on top of their group ahead of Slovakia, and makes Kakko the leading scorer of the tournament so far. In Finland he plays his club hockey at TPS Turku.
Dozens of die hard Finnish fans have traveled to Slovakia to see the game, and cheer for the national team.
“You hear the Finnish fans, and it’s unreal” Finland’s Juho Lammikko told reporters after the game.
“They’re so loud. It’s great to play for them, and the Slovak fans are amazing. It was such a great atmosphere” he added.
Finland has just one day off, before being back in action against the USA on Monday evening at 17:15 Helsinki time.