Lions look to build on winning start at World Championships

Both Finland and Slovakia are coming off impressive opening wins against hockey powerhouse nations.

Arttu Ilomaki #15 celebrates after scoring a goal against Canada in the opening game of the Ice Hockey World Championships in Kosice, Slovakia / Credit: by Matt Zambonin, IIHF

Finland’s Lions are looking to build on their opening game win over Canada, as they face hosts Slovakia at the ice hockey World Championships this evening.

Two goals from ice sensation Kaapo Kakko and another from Arttu Ilomaki helped the Finns secure the 3-1 victory over one of the best teams in the world.

The victory was all the more impressive given how inexperienced Finland’s team is this year. With the usual absence of NHL stars, many of the Finns are playing at this level on the international stage for the first time ever.

“I think it was a good team effort” captain Marko Anttila told reporters after the game.

“We had a really good start and battled hard. It’s especially good because we have a lot of first-timers in the World Championship, so that’s not always easy because players can be a little bit nervous, but I think we had a good team game” he said.

Taking on hosts Slovakia 

Finland takes on Slovakia on Saturday evening, with the hosts looking for a home crowd advantage, and coming off an impressive 4-1 win over the USA.

The Slovaks also have a lot of young players in their team and they made it look easy against an American side that many had considered gold medal contenders ahead of the competition.

The English translations of the Slovakian national anthem is ‘Lightning over the Tatras’ and when Finland and Slovakia take to the ice at 21:15 Helsinki time tonight there will definitely be some lightning on display!