Two players ejected for dirty hits in same World Juniors tune-up game
As anticipation builds toward the start of the world junior hockey championship on Boxing Day, the competing nations are putting the final touches on their squads, with the potential of international glory right around the corner.
But the emotions of the buildup toward the tournament seemed to have gotten out of control in a tune-up game between Finland and the United States on Thursday.
In the first period, Finnish defenceman Ruben Rafkin was assessed a major penalty and a game misconduct for a knee-on-knee hit on American forward Brett Berard.
#NYR prospect Brett Berard to the locker room after this knee-on-knee from Ruben Rafkin. 5 + the game for Rafkin. pic.twitter.com/AeXHnuyJ3A
— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) December 23, 2021
Berard would eventually return to the game.
With his team up 3-1 in the third period, United States forward Red Savage caught Joakim Kemell with an elbow to the head. He was given a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct, evening up the playing field.
Joakim Kemell takes a hit to the head. #WJC2022 #2022NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/AuADR8i0JB
— Lassi Alanen (@lassialanen) December 23, 2021
The penalty turned out to be very costly, as Finland roared back to tie the game, scoring twice on its extended power play and forcing overtime.
Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Roni Hirvonen stepped up in the extra frame, jamming a loose puck home to top off his team’s big comeback.
🇫🇮 @leijonat just cemented their #powerplay power with a 4-3 win over @usahockey in #WorldJuniors exhibition action.
Roni Hirvonen scores the #OT winner. Check out one of his best goals from 2021. ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/GaY1zA5ecu
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) December 23, 2021
The IIHF Disciplinary Committee will surely review both incidents that led to the game misconducts, with the possibility of supplemental discipline to come.
Both Finland and the United States are slated to open their respective tournament schedules on Dec. 26 in Alberta. Team USA will be looking to repeat as champions while the Finns aim to improve on last year's bronze-medal finish.
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