The ex-head coach of Salavat Yulaev was incredibly close to reaching semi-finals of the World Juniors-2023, but as a result, he was in for a severe disappointment.
The confrontation between the squads of Sweden and Finland is traditionally one of the main calling cards in hockey universe. For these northern countries, there is no more principled rival than their closest neighbor, judging by their geographical location.
In recent years, Finnish national team has managed to establish itself as a highly uncomfortable opponent for the Swedish team at the youth level of World Championships, especially at various stages of the playoffs.
When did this hockey confrontation start? The problems of the Swedes in relations with the Finnish national team began nine years ago, when Tre Krunur lost to their principal rival in the finals of the youth championship, having missed Rasmus Ristolainen in overtime of the global hockey championship.
Two years later, the Swedes again lost to the Finns in the semi-finals of the World Juniors 2016, and five years later they were weaker already at the quarter-final stage. In favor of the Finnish team, last meeting of the opponents in World Juniors 2022 semi-finals ended when the Suomi squad defeated the northern neighbor with a minimum score of 1:0.
Each of the meetings invariably ended with a difference of one puck in favor of the Finnish team, which upset the Swedes even more before the next meeting in the World Juniors playoffs.
Included in the top 5 favorites of the 2023 NHL Draft, Karlsson again successfully played on someone else’s penny, scored a double, and turned this match into a super-nervous ending.