CANADA TO PLAY FOR BRONZE AT WORLD JUNIORS AFTER 5-1 SEMIFINAL LOSS TO FINLAND
THE CANADIAN PRESS
MALMÖ, Sweden – Canada will go without a gold medal at the IIHF World Junior Championship for a fifth consecutive year.
Frustrated by a dogged defensive team and drawn into individualistic play and bad penalties, Canada was beaten 5-1 by Finland in the semifinals on Saturday.
“Everything from penalties to neutral zone play to turnovers, we just got beat fair and square,” team captain Scott Laughton (Oakville, Ont./Oshawa, OHL) said. “It's not like we deserved to win.”
Canada will play for bronze on Sunday against Russia, which lost 2-1 to host Sweden. Canada lost the bronze-medal game to the Russians last year in Ufa to end a run of 14 years of finishing in the top three.
“It's a game less than 24 hours later and you've got to do your country proud,” added Laughton. “It's tough we're not playing for the gold, but we're still looking to get a medal and get back on track.”
Sweden will play Finland in an all-Nordic gold medal game.
Joni Nikko, Artturi Lehkonen and Rasmus Ristolainen scored in the second period for Finland.
Jonathan Drouin (Huberdeau, Que./Halifax, QMJHL) replied for Canada, but Finland captain Teuvo Teralainen scored on a penalty shot at 16:49 of the third and then scored into an empty net to seal the victory.
The Finns got the first goal on a lucky bounce.
Julius Honka of the Swift Current Broncos dumped the puck in and saw it take a strange bounce off a gap in the Zamboni entrance door. Nikko pounced on the puck to beat an otherwise sharp Zachary Fucale (Rosemère, Que./Halifax, QMJHL).
After Lehkonen scored, Drouin got a goal back as he scooped up a loose puck and shot into an open side with Anthony Mantha (Longueuil, Que./Val-d’Or, QMJHL) clogging up the front of the net.
Ristolainen then roofed a shot from close range for a 3-1 lead.
The large contingent of red-and-white clad Canadian fans in the crowd of 11,544 at Malmö Arena kept the noise level high through a desperate third period, but Juuse Saros shut the door.
In the third period, Derrick Pouliot (Weyburn, Sask./Portland, WHL) hauled down Henrik Haapala on a breakaway. Despite Canadian protests, Teravainen took the penalty shot because Haapala claimed he had injured his right hand.
The Finns, who finished seventh last year, are assured of ending a seven-year medal drought. They have not won this tournament since 1998.
“We had everybody together - we were team with a big T,” said Honka. “It will be nice to play in the final.”