Sweden’s senior and U19 teams both took another step towards finishing their Euro Floorball Tour 2017 in Kirchberg with a perfect record of three wins, seeing off their Czech opposition 6-3 and 6-5 respectively in two thrilling encounters. Both Finnish teams rounded off their tours with two wins from their three games, the U19 side romping to a 9-4 victory before the senior side clinched a nerve-shredding game 4-2.
The obstacle lying between Sweden’s teams and a perfect record to finish the tour is a duo of Swiss sides that although winless, may take great confidence from elements of their respective performances as they look to clinch their first and only wins on home soil in the competition against the odds.
Sweden – Czech Republic 6-3 [highlights]
Sweden’s senior side overcame an early deficit against Czechia to clock up a second win of the tour with a 6-3 scoreline, Alexander Galante Carlström notching a delightful double, whilst Johan Samuelsson, Jonas Svahn, and Kim Nilsson also made it onto the scoresheet.
The Czechs led 0-1 at the initial interval thanks to David Simek’s opening goal, but Samuelsson’s fine turn and finish had the favorites back on terms before Svahn made it 2-1. Jan Natov pegged them back immediately afterward, but that was as good as it got for the Czechs as Sweden edged ahead at 3-2 before Nilsson’s finish provided a two-goal cushion. Daniel Sebek pulled the score back to 4-3 for Czechia, before Galante Carlström’s double- the last of them a cheeky lob which proved the pick of all the Swedish goals- killed the contest in the closing period, Switzerland now the only opposition standing between the Swedes and a perfect three wins from three (Sunday November 5, 15:00 CET).
Switzerland- Finland 2-4 [highlights]
Reigning world champions Finland ended their Euro Floorball Tour 2017 campaign with two wins from their three games by the skin of their teeth, goalkeeper and MVP Joonas Kaltiainen the hero of the hour with a string of spectacular saves, allowing Joonas Pylsy’s double and Valtteri Kainulainen and Jami Manninen’s strikes to seal a 4-2 win.
Pylsy’s close range finish from Manninen’s lay-off handed the Finns an early lead, but they were forced to weather intense Swiss pressure for long periods to keep it intact, Kaltiainen often required to intervene. He saved well from Matthias Hofbauer before the break, and 36 seconds after the restart the Finns extended that lead, Valtteri Kainulainen slotting home for 0-2. Patrick Mendelin tapped in at the far post in reply just before the half-hour mark, but Kaltiainen was a colossus in goal to deny them an equalizer, dramatically palming away Luca Graf’s effort. He had the woodwork to thank for keeping out Roman Mittelholzer’s snapshot shortly after, but Joonas Pylsy eased Finnish nerves six minutes from time, capping off a smooth counter-attack with a calm finish for 1-3. Pylsy then turned provider for Manninen to slot home for a flattering 1-4 scoreline, Luca Graf salvaging a late consolation for the Swiss straight from the hit-off. The hosts can take a great deal of heart from a performance in which they weren’t deprived of chances, and if they can match their level from tonight will surely fancy themselves against the Swedes on Sunday (November 4, 15:00 CET) as they seek out a first victory.
Sweden U19 – Czech Republic U19 6-5
Sweden U19 kept their 100% record intact with a late salvaging mission in their match with Czechia U19, MVP Hampus Ahrén amongst the scorers as they overturned a 2-3 deficit going into the closing third to win 6-5.
Marten Rezac hit the opener for Czechia, the first of a quartet of goals, and Josef Juha doubled the lead before Michael Jansson pulled a goal back for Sweden going into the first interval. Petr Kolacny and Oliver Liedberg both missed penalty-shots for either side before Rezac’s second made it 1-3 for the Czechs. William Westerdahl hit a long-range effort to pull the score back to 2-3 just before the second break, and from then on, it all unraveled for the Eastern Europeans, Hampus Ahrén scoring a penalty-shot and a cool tap-in either side of a Kevin Rigogiannis finish to propel Sweden to 5-3. Czechia’s Rezac notched his hat-trick shortly after to make it 5-4 before Liedberg atoned for his penalty miss by notching Sweden’s sixth. Rezac popped up again with a fourth for him and Czechia’s fifth to set-up a grandstand finish, but Sweden held on for a second win, their Sunday clash with Switzerland (November 5, 10:00 CET) the only match left to negotiate in the hunt for an unbeaten tour record.
Switzerland U19 – Finland U19 4-9
Match MVP Aaro Helin hit a double as Finland U19 struck nine past an out of sorts Swiss side, rounding off their tour with two wins from their three matches. Markus Salmi and Justus Kainulainen quickly fired the Finns into an early two-goal lead, before Alan Strässle and Severin Nigg netted for the hosts for a 2-2 deadlock at the first interval.
A horror second period saw the hosts lose their grip on the contest, however. Harry Braillard saw a penalty-shot saved by Finnish goalkeeper Oskari Fälden, before Helin, Toni Rintala, Joona Valkama, Jasper Juuti and Joonatan Kovanen all found the net for Finland for a 2-7 lead going into the closing third. Rintala and Helin added further goals to make the contest a rout at 2-9, before Gianluca Persici and Nadir Moneghetti netted late consolidation goals for the Swiss. They are still on the hunt for a first win of the tour and will need to raise their game on this showing if they are to challenge Sweden U19 on Sunday (November 4, 10:00 CET).
Source: SwissUnihockey.ch // Olivier Winistörfer