Without the National Hockey Leagues elite stars in the Olympics this year, it has opened the doors for younger talent to emerge and show what they’re made of.
Finland’s Eeli Tolvanen did just that.
The 18 year old center registered a goal and three assists in his Olympic debut to help his team defeat Germany 5-2 at the Gangneung Ice Centre in PyeongChang.
Finland opened the score on the power-play when Sami Lepisto netted home a sweet feed from Eeli Tolvanen at 16:47 of the first frame.
Germany’s Brooks Macek had a quick response and leveled the score at one a piece as he ripped a one timer past Finland’s goaltender Mikko Koskinen. Christian Ehrhoff picked up an assist on Macek’s tally.
With the game tied, Finland turned the pressure on in the last half of the first period.
Mika Pyorala took advantage of a Christian Ehrhoff turnover and beat German netminder Danny Aus Den birken to give the Fins the lead.
Eeli Tolvanen who had been ice cold over the last few months in the KHL, found the back of the net to opening scoring in the second period. The 30th overall pick in the NHL entry draft (drafted by the Nashville Predators) cashed in on the power play to extend Finland’s lead to 3-1.
His confidence only grew as the game went on.
Finland lit the lamp only 1:21 after Tolvanen netted his first. This time it was team captain Lasse Kukkonen with the tally off an incredible set up by Tolvanen. In his last 75 national game apperances, Kukkonen has struggled to find the back of the net. With the goal, he snapped his scoreless streak.
Germany came out to play in the third period, as Frank Hordler scored to cut Finland’s lead to two.
Any hope for a German comeback was slashed when Jonas Kemppainen tapped in a highlight worthy feed from Eeli Tovanen late in the third period to secure the win.
Finland resumes play on 2/16 at 7:10a.m. with a faceoff against Norway.