Disappointing start for Finland at ice hockey World Junior Championship

A goal from captain Aarne Talvitie wasn't enough to hand victory to Leijonat against a dominant Swedish side.

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Finland's u20 players warm up before opening game of 2018 World Junior Championships in Canada / Credit: @leijonat Twitter

The Finnish ice hockey team got off to a disappointing start at the World Junior Championship in Canada, losing 1-2 against rivals Sweden on Wednesday.

The tournament is for players under 20-years old, and is being hosted in Vancouver and Victoria.

Although the two teams were fairly evenly matched with 30 shots on goal each, Finland’s only puck in the back of the net came from team captain Aarne Talvitie.

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It was perhaps no surprise the Swedes would get a win, the last time they lost a round-robin match in the World Junior Championships was back in 2006. They’ve now won 45 games in a row at this stage of the tournament.

Both teams are in action later today, with Sweden facing Slovakia and Finland taking on Kazakhstan.

Asked what he expects from the newly promoted Kazakh team, Finnish goalkeeper Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen told reporters “it’s really hard to say. I think no one [in this group] has played against them. It’s going to be tough, but we have to find ways just to focus on our own game and not think about the opponent we’re playing tomorrow.”

The Finns won the u20 World Championship in 2014 and 2016 but, finished 6th last year.