It’s on to the playoffs at the 2023 IIHF World Championship, and
Canada’s National Men’s Team
looks to get the job done in the quarterfinals against the co-host Finland
on Thursday in a rematch of the last three gold medal games.
Canada earned a
3-1 win over Czechia
in its preliminary-round finale on Tuesday. Tyler Myers scored the
game-winner, Peyton Krebs and Lawson Crouse added goals of their own and
Canada piled up 44 shots on goal to clinch second place in Group B.
Finland wrapped up its prelim schedule with
a 7-1 win over Denmark
on Tuesday. Bjorn Hannes finished with a goal and two assists, Mikael
Seppala added three helpers and the Finns scored the game’s first seven
goals en route to the win.
Canada and Finland faced off last year in Tampere for the gold medal, with
Canada falling 4-3 in overtime
. Mathew Barzal recorded three assists, including two in the third period to
help send the game to overtime, while Zach Whitecloud, Dylan Cozens and Max
Comtois provided the offence.
What to Watch
Canada hasn’t been shy when it comes to getting shots on goal, its 270 shots
led all teams during the preliminary round. Leading the charge in the shots
department is captain Tyler Toffoli, who racked up 29 shots in seven games,
averaging 4.14 per game. With the Finns allowing the third-most shots
against (211), Emil Larmi could be seeing a whole lot of rubber.
It wasn’t busy (the Finns took just 14 penalties, second-fewest in the
prelims), but Finland’s penalty kill has been one of the best in the
tournament. The co-hosts allowed just one power-play goal against in those
14 opportunities, negating 92.86 percent of its shorthanded situations. Only
Latvia (19-for-20, 95.0%) was better. It also has one of just four
shorthanded goals (Juho Lammiko scored a man short against the Danes), so
special teams will be key for the Finns.
A Look Back
The two countries are very familiar with each other at the world
championship, with Thursday’s game marking their 54th matchup.
Prior to last year’s meeting for the gold medal, Canada and Finland met in
the final in 2021, where Nick Paul scored 6:26 into overtime to give
Canada a 3-2 victory
and its 27th world title, and in the 2019, when Shea Theodore scored the
lone Canadian goal in
a 3-1 loss in Bratislava
All-time record: Canada leads 37-14-2 (3-3 in OT/SO)
Canada goals: 276
Finland goals: 121