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Canada’s National Men’s Team
is in the gold medal game at the IIHF World Championship for the
third-straight tournament and sixth out of the last seven, but will need to
go through host Finland to capture back-to-back world titles.
Canada trailed Czechia 1-0 early, but after a late goal from Dylan Cozens
in that same frame and three in the second period (from Adam Lowry, Kent
Johnson and Matt Barzal), Canada never looked back as it finished a
a convincing 6-1 semifinal win. Canada spent nearly eight minutes in the first period on the penalty
kill, giving up that lone Czech goal near the tail-end of a double minor.
Canada didn’t take another minor penalty but did capitalize on its own
man-advantage opportunities twice in the second period. Cole Sillinger and
Cozens added goals in the third period to round out the scoring and Chris
Driedger made 25 saves for the win.
Finland took on the United States in its semifinal, picking up
a thrilling 4-3 win
to earn its third-straight trip to the worlds final. The Finns fell behind
early in the first period before Miro Heiskanen tied it. Finland took the
lead in the second, but the U.S. answered back two-and-a-half minutes
later. The hosts jumped ahead again at the midway mark of the second period
on a goal by Sami Vatanen, and Joel Armia recorded the game-winner in the
As inferred above, the last time Canada and Finland met at the worlds was
the 2021 gold medal game and few Canadians can forget how that one ended –
a 3-2 overtime win
that capped off a Cinderella-like run for Canada. Trailing 2-1 with less
than eight minutes to go, Canadian captain Adam Henrique scored the
equalizer on a power play to force the extra frame, where Connor Brown and
Nick Paul worked a two-on-one to perfection to capture Canada’s 27th gold
WHAT TO WATCH
Canada’s top line is nearly unstoppable right now, with Pierre-Luc Dubois
and Cozens at 13 points each and Drake Batherson sitting on 12. But there
is also plenty of depth in Canada’s forward contingent, so stopping one
line will not be enough for the Finns.
Finland, on the other hand, boasts the tournament’s top goaltending, with a
team save percentage of .949. The penalty kill has been perfect, as in zero
goals against and only 16 penalties taken in nine games. The only chink in
the man-advantage armour was a goal scored six-on-five when the U.S. pulled
its goaltender looking for an equalizer in the semifinal.
A LOOK BACK
It is hard to imagine a more charged battle than Finland and Canada for the
world title, as these teams have met in the previous two finals, each
bringing home a gold medal.
Historically, Canada has the edge in overall meetings, but is 1-4 in the
last five games (that lone win being the gold medal last year). However,
the last time Canada did go back-to-back at worlds, in 2016, it was
a 2-0 shutout win
over Finland to claim the title. Connor McDavid scored in the first, Matt
Duchene added the insurance marker in the third and Cam Talbot made 16
saves for the shutout.
All-time record: Canada leads 37-13-2 (W-L-T)
Canada goals: 273
Finland goals: 117