2023 wjc can fin 12 23

World Juniors Preview: Canada vs. Finland

Friday, December 23 | 7:30 p.m. AT | Halifax, Nova Scotia | Pre-Tournament

Jason La Rose
December 23, 2022


Canada’s National Junior Team has arrived in Halifax, and looks to close out a perfect pre-tournament schedule when it takes on Finland in a rematch from the 2022 World Juniors gold medal game last summer.


Canada made it 2-for-2 in Moncton, downing Slovakia 6-1 on Wednesday night. It was offence by committee, with six different Canadians scoring goals and 12 recording at least a point. Joshua Roy posted his second-straight one-goal-one-assist effort, and Shane Wright and Caedan Bankier recorded two helpers each. Roy and Brennan Othmann scored six seconds apart in the first minute of the third period; had that happened in the tournament, it would have been the fastest two Canadian goals in World Juniors history.

The Finns got their exhibition slate started on Monday night in Quispamsis, N.B., falling 5-2 to the United States. Jimi Suomi (which means Finland in Finnish…that’s awesome) opened the scoring 5:44 in, but the Americans got the next four. Konsta Kapanen had the other goal for Finland, which outshot the U.S. 24-21.


Who could forget?! The 41st meeting between the teams was the first ever in the gold medal game, and it was a classic in Edmonton. Roy and William Dufour gave Canada a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes, but Aleksi Heimosalmi and Joakim Kemell equalized for Finland in the third period. That set the stage for overtime, where Mason McTavish made one of the greatest saves in tournament history, followed seconds later by Kent Johnson’s golden goal that gave Canada a 3-2 victory and a 19th World Juniors gold.


Canada has spread around the offence in its first two games, with nine players scoring and 13 recording points. But the trio of Dylan Guenther, Logan Stankoven and Adam Fantilli – the de-facto second line – has struggled to find its scoring touch at 5-on-5. The three have a goal and five points in the two games, but just two of those have come at even strength. It’s not for a lack of opportunities, but Canada’s road to gold will be that much smoother if that line finds its game.

It's only a pre-tournament game, but don’t think the Finns won’t be out for a small measure of revenge for the way their 2022 World Juniors ended. Finland has seven players back from its silver medal-winning team from the summer, including both of its gold medal game scorers – Heimosalmi and Kemell. It also has one of the most talked-about names for the 2024 NHL Draft in 16-year-old defenceman Aron Kiviharju, who TSN’s Craig Button ranks as the No. 2 prospect in that class.


As mentioned above, the teams have met 41 times at the World Juniors since the 1977 tournament; Canada holds a 26-9-6 edge, although four of the Canadians’ nine defeats have come in playoff-round games.

Home ice has been kind to Canada; it has lost just once in 15 games as touranament host. The top individual performances have come almost exclusively on Canadian ice – Mark Stone had a hat trick in the 2012 tournament opener in Edmonton, the same game that saw Jonathan Huberdeau post a goal and four assists for the best single-game effort ever by a Canadian against Finland.

All-time record: Canada leads 26-9-6 (1-1 in OT/SO)
Canada goals: 163
Finland goals: 105

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

[email protected] 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

[email protected]

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

[email protected]

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