Finland avoids relegation at world juniors with 4-1 win over Latvia

Finland avoids relegation at world juniors with 4-1 win over Latvia

MONTREAL — Juuso Valimaki scored twice to lead Finland back to the world junior hockey championship with a 4-1 win over Latvia on Tuesday in the relegation round.

Finland won the best-of-three series against Latvia 2-0 after Monday’s 2-1 win. The Finns will be back in the international tournament next year in Buffalo, N.Y., and Latvia will be playing in the lower tier.

Villi Saarijarvi got the third-period winner for Finland and added an assist. Eeli Tolvanen chipped in a goal and an assist, while Veini Vehvilainen stopped 22 shots in net.

Renards Krastenbergs replied for Latvia and goalie Mareks Mitens made 38 saves.

Finland finishes ninth, its worst placement in any International Ice Hockey Federation competition since 1955, a year after winning the world juniors in Helsinki.

Last-place Latvia is demoted to the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division I Group A.

The Canadian Press

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