Data Analysis: Finland vs Sweden 6:3 – 12.12.2018

Data Analysis: Finland vs Sweden 6:3

There were no other teams in the WFC finals than Finland and Sweden in the last six tournaments. And again both Finland and Sweden did not miss the 2018 finals. Finnish players scored first, never trailed in the game and defended their 2016 title. The article reflects on the 6-3 win for Finland while analyzing data from the game.

It was very even game. Finland managed to score early by Kivilehto from rather common attack. “Suomi” could then stick to “their game” playing good defence and take their chances when opportunity arises. Next gif is an example of Finland defending quick attack against.

Sweden showed their strength but could not convert for long time. They had 4-6 edge in dangerous possessions in the first period. Very similarly they were more dangerous team in the second period with 3-5 advantage in the same metric. Score after 40 minutes remained in favor (2-1) of Finland though. One can freely argue that was mainly due Kosonen. Save in the gif was not the only one in the game in this kind of fashion.

Sweden was able to equalize early in the third period and waiting time for next goal started to tick. Finnish team outsmarted Sweden on common free hit from their defensive half to create 2 on 0 situation in a blink of an eye. Kotilainen to Kivilehto and it was 3-2. This moment may have shattered Swedish confidence. Finland dominated next minutes scoring two more goals and yielding few odd man rushes. Next graph is summarizing all dangerous possessions during the game period by period.

Third period ended with 4-9 dangerous possessions advantage for Finland at even strength. Sweden pulled the goalie more than five minutes before the final whistle, created pressure and eventually good scoring chances (see next graph) with one goal scored from penalty shot by Rudd.

Another saves from Kosonen and sixth goal from Johansson to the empty net sealed the victory.

From data perspective this was very even game overall. Contextually the advantage was on Finnish side as they were leading for more than 52 minutes in the game. They might be lucky and thank to their goalkeeper for 2-1 lead after two periods but showed their quality in the third.

Kivilehto and Kotilainen both scored two goals in the final game and cameras were resisting to put their view of them. Did they have a strong game overall? We can try to answer while looking at next two graphs.

Naturally there is no way to state they were bad. They scored crucial goals for their team but overshadow performance of first line for Finland would be pity. It was Lamminen, Savonen, Salin, Salo and Johansson S. with the best differential of dangerous possessions in the game. For team Sweden first lined ended with slightly better results than other lines.

Last graph divides these dangerous possessions into odd man rush situations and clear path opportunities.

This is much clearer to know why it was so exciting to watch second line (Kivilehto, Kotilainen, Pylsy, Lastikka and Väänänen for most of the game) for Finland in the game. They created great advantage in odd man rushes but at the same time had troubles with Sweden creating clear path opportunities against. Finnish first line was not that flashy but so efficient in creating clear path opportunities.

With what to conclude? What if Sweden scored first? Might fatigue played a role? What team deserved… Let me leave answers to similar questions open to fans. Data analysis is not here to prove somebody right or wrong. It is here attempting to bring deeper insight to the game. To the game that can be very unpredictable at times. To the game with other unmeasurable aspects, emotions and exceptional performances. It still is fun and will remain. I hope you enjoyed reading the articles.

By Petr Malina