GIF: Finland wins World Juniors on Rasmus Ristolainen's golden goal

By Brian Stubits |

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For the first time since 1998, Finland is champion of the hockey world at the junior level.

The Finns, who defeated Canada in the semifinals of the 2013 World Junior Championships in Sweden, advanced to the final on Sunday to play their fierce rival and the host nation Swedes. A tight game from start to finish, the Swedes forced overtime late, leading to a 20-minute 4-on-4 golden goal time and a 3-2 win for Finland.

In the OT period, Sabres prospect Rasmus Ristolainen found himself with the puck and cutting across the Swedish net when he tucked the puck under the pads and in the net for the golden goal to start the party for the Finns.

GIF from @CJZero:

Finland's win means that five different nations have won the last six gold medals at the Junior level, quite a statement about the growth of the game internationally, especially when you consider top prospects such as Aleksander Barkov and Olli Maatta were not made available to the Finnish national team by their NHL clubs.

Earlier on Sunday in the bronze medal game, Russia held off Canada to take third place in the tournament. As a result, Canada goes without a medal in back to back years, the first time since 1979-81 the Canadians failed to medal in consecutive years. It also means that North America goes without a medal at the Junior level for the first time since 1998. Apparently Finland winning is bad news for the US and Canada.

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