Face-off: 1220 BST, 28/05/2022
Arena: Tampere Deck Arena
Team USA impressed when upsetting Switzerland in the IIHF World Championship quarter-finals but facing Finland on home ice is a formidable task.
A hostile atmosphere is assured at Tampere Deck Arena and this is a young American side, so the hosts look worthy favourites to progress.
They prevailed 4-1 in a pool-stage meeting and 2.25 for them to win by more than one clear goal again here is our first Finland vs USA prediction.
Finland finished top of a competitive Group B with six wins and a shootout loss from seven outings, scoring 25 goals and conceding only five.
The hosts were given a scare at the last-eight stage, falling 2-0 behind versus Slovakia before recovering their composure to triumph 4-2.
Veteran winger Marko Anttila, who was captain when Finland struck gold in 2019, led the fightback with a double strike to level things up.
Sakari Manninen grabbed the go-ahead goal at 44:01 and Saku Maenalanen completed the comeback with a late empty-netter to send a crowd of 11,341 wild.
Defenseman Niklas Friman said of 36-year-old cult hero Antilla: “Marko’s a great player and a great person in the locker room.
“Somehow he is very good in these important games. The amount of energy he gives the defence is great and we’re all very proud of him.”
Any suggestion that this Finland outfit lacks star quality is overridden by the unity and spirit of a team battle-hardened by past campaigns in this event and Olympics success in Beijing.
Looking at the 5.75 for the hosts to oblige by exactly two goals.
Team USA emerged from the pool stage with a solid 3-2-2 record, with a 3-2 overtime win over Sweden probably their best effort.
Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman caught the eye during that campaign and produced a superb shutout in Thursday’s 3-0 defeat of Switzerland.
The Swiss were unbeaten winners of Group A and outshot the Americans 33-22, but Swayman held firm to prove the difference maker.
“It was a great team effort,” beamed captain Seth Jones. “We executed our game plan pretty well.
“It comes down to team defence. Forwards are coming back helping us out, making our lives easier – and our goalie, I can’t say enough about Swayzs. He made big saves when we needed them.
“We’re excited to go back and to compete for a medal. We didn’t do that great against Finland last time, so we enjoy this tonight and will be ready to go the next game.”
Colorado Avalanche forward Ben Meyers bagged a brace of goals either side of Ottawa Senators centre Adam Gaudette hitting the net.
One comment to note was from Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Hartman, who said the Tampere ice can get “a little chippy”, making it “hard to score later in the game”.
Semi-finals are usually tight early on, so let’s take 2.6 for the second period to produce the most goals in our Finland vs USA betting tips.
FINLAND 4-2 Slovakia
Switzerland 0-3 USA
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