Thousands of ice hockey fans across Finland have taken to the streets to celebrate the Lions’ World Championship victory.
Finland beat Canada 3-1 in the Slovak capital Bratislava on Sunday evening to scoop their third World Championship gold.
Two goals came from team captain Marko Anttila, before Harri Pesonen added one last in the third half to seal the victory. Goalkeeper Kevin Lankinen faced down 44 shots on goal but remained cool as ice in the face of the Canadian firepower.
“It’s awesome!” Finland’s Toni Rajala told reporters after the game.
“It’s something that you know might only happen once in your life, but even before the game it felt great. I wasn’t too nervous about it; I was enjoying it. The team played an awesome game again. We played together, played 60 minutes. Kevin was awesome in the net, we were blocking shots. They were good today, but we were a little bit better. Three goals was enough” he said.
The Finnish team went to Slovakia full of unknown and inexperienced players, but only dropped two games in the group stage before advancing to the quarter finals where they eased past Sweden; then beating Russia in Saturday’s semi; before making light work of Canada in Sunday’s final.
“It’s an amazing feeling” said Finnish player Jere Sallinen.
“I don’t even know how we won; it’s unbelievable. We’re a pretty good hockey country. Maybe it’s a miracle on ice, something like that. Going back to Helsinki is going to be amazing. I think there’s a lot of people waiting there for us” he said.
And the fans go wild as #Finland Leijonat wins the ice hockey World Championships! If you couldn't make it to the #Helsinki market square, this is how insane it is with THOUSANDS of fans at 1am on Monday morning! 🇫🇮🦁 #leijonat #mmkisat #MM2019 #IIHFWorlds #suomi
Julkaissut News Now Finland Sunnuntaina 26. toukokuuta 2019
Fans take to the streets
There already were thousands of fans celebrating the win on Sunday night after the final whistle.
In Helsinki’s Market Square fans waved flags, jumped into the Havis Amanda fountain, and created a carnival atmosphere into the wee small hours of the morning.
Surrounding streets were blocked as cars honked their horns and passengers waved flags out the windows.