The Finnish team decided game in the first period. It scored four goals and totally destroyed all American plans. Team USA tried to get back into game, but without any success. Finland got the first huge win at the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup.
Penalties: 6:8. PP goals: 2:0. SH goals: 0:0.
Referees: Kubuš, Goga, Tvrdoò, Návratek. Attendance: 284.
The start of the game didn´t look like a Finnish exhibition. Knierim had a great chance to score after the 31 seconds, Isokangas made first of his great saves in the match. First minutes were played mostly in neutral zone without any big changes. That changed in 8th min, when Otto Makinen changed the direction of Jokiharju´s shot and puck finished into the net to make it 1–0. The real shock for the US team came in the 11th minute, when Somppi won the face-off for Eetu Tuulola and he sent an immediate shot, which surprised also goalkeeper Dhillon and it was suddenly 2–0. The USA had the opportunity to stop Finnish pressure on the power play, but they were unable to capitalize and another penalty made it 4-on-4. After the end of the Finnish penalty came the power play and Robin Salo´s beautiful shot, which went into the left top corner to make it 3–0. The first period wasn´t over yet, however, as the Finns added another power-play goal in the 19th minute on a nice passing play, with Rasanen passing the puck to Otto Somppi, who scored the 4–0 goal into an empty net.
The Americans changed goalies during the break and played a different style of hockey, tighter on defence and with some opportunities to score also. The start of the period was in sense of Finland´s activity, Rasmussen got to the game after the save to Salo´s opportunity. Lown could have scored the first US goal in the 26th minute, but his snap shot missed the target by a few centimeters. The another huge opportunity for USA came in the 31st minute, when Mittelstadt had three chances to get the puck behind Isokangas three times, but couldn´t make it go. It wasn´t a great day for the Americans, which was confirmed when Gettinger broke his stick in good position in front of the empty net. Happiness finally erupted from the US side in the 37th minute. Long time of effort resulted into the goal, when Lown sent a nice pass through all attacking zone and Timmy Gettinger scored into the empty part of net to make it 4–1. However, Finland managed to answer really quickly. The American defence made a huge mistake behind their net and lost the puck. Otto Makinen took it, skated in front of the net and scored on a beautiful wrist shot to the top left corner to close out the scoring.
The Finnish goaltender Isokangas also played a great game and stopped all American shots and rushes in the third period. The final score of 5–1 makes it seem like the Finns were dominant, but that wasn´t exactly the case. “Suomi” played great hockey and took advantage of their chances and American defensive mistakes. As for Team USA, it needs to think about their performance and work mostly on its defensive play.
Otto Makinen (scorer of two Finnish goals): “We are very happy to win the first game. To be honest, I didn´t expect so huge scoring difference between us and the USA. I scored two goals thank to my linemates, they played a great game. I´m really enjoying Bratislava and the tournament, where our goal is to get the title.”
Dayton Rasmussen (US goalkeeper): “I shifted into the game after the first period. That wasn´t easy, but I got into the game really fast. We didn´t play well in the first period, made many mistakes. Then, we changed our play and we need to continue that way.”