This is the one Team Canada has been waiting for. They played a complete game, almost completely shutting down the second best team in their pool. This New Year’s Eve matchup against Finland had been Canada’s most anticipated of the tournament. Canada beat Finland 4-1 to secure the top spot in Group A.
Right from puck drop, Canada controlled the game. They had numerous chances in the first period outshooting the Finnish team, 17-1 in the frame. Dylan Cozens, known as the Workhorse from Whitehorse, scored the only goal of the period, leading the way for his team. He has continued to be Canada’s best player, dominating in every aspect of the game. Cozens finished second in tournament scoring after the round robin with 11 points, just behind USA’s Trevor Zegras (13). A highlight from this period was the beautiful pass from Jack Quinn to send Jakob Pelletier on a breakaway. Pelletier couldn’t capitalize for Canada to make it 2-0.
Late in the first period, forward Alex Newhook collided with Eemil Viro. He made an attempt to stay but left the game with an upper body injury. He did not return and did not practice on Friday morning with the team. He is currently listed as day-to-day and Head Coach Andre Tourigny called him a “game-time decision for tomorrow” against the Czech Republic. The Colorado Avalanche prospect has played well for Canada with two goals and five points in three games. Should he be out for the next game, Canada will certainly miss his energy and strong forechecking ability. Connor Zary was moved onto a line with Peyton Krebs and Cole Perfetti following Newhook’s departure. This is likely to remain intact if Newhook is out going forward.
Canada continued their dominance throughout the game, adding goals from Krebs and Dylan Holloway, as well as an empty netter from captain Cozens. Their tough puck pressure made it relatively impossible for the Finns to stay in it. While they struggled to get any offence going, Finland did get on the board with a goal from Brad Lambert in the third period.
The only part of Canada’s game that could use real improvements was the power play. They went 0-4 on the power play in this game, missing opportunities to get ahead. While these missed opportunities didn’t end up being costly, this is something they will need to work on moving forward to more important games.
Devon Levi had another solid game in goal for Canada, making an array of timely saves while facing 19 shots. His play will be an important factor heading forward into the elimination games of the tournament.
Canada’s showing has been incredible strong so far. They have been able limit their opponent’s opportunities with tight defence and continuous forecheck. If they can keep this up, teams will continue to struggle to produce against them. Canada’s journey to a second straight gold continues on Saturday against the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic finished fourth in Pool B but should not be taken lightly as they stunned Russia, beating them 2-0, earlier in the tournament.
Mikayla’s Players of the Games
1 G, 0 A, 1 Point, 1 SOG
Peyton Krebs easily had his best showing of the tournament in this game. Along with many of his teammates, he’s consistently improved over the course of the round robin. Aside from scoring his third goal of the tournament, the Vegas Golden Knights prospect worked in front of the net to make things happen as well as stuck to his strong forechecking, causing problems for the Finns. He is another important piece of depth for Canada moving forward.
1 G, 0 A, 1 Point, 2 SOG
Brad Lambert, a 2003 born player, not eligible for the NHL Draft until 2022, scored the lone goal for Finland in their loss. The young player gave viewers a glimpse of his speed and dynamic abilities with the puck. The future is bright for Lambert and his impact will only grow for Finland in future years at the World Juniors.