CANADA FALLS TO FINNS IN KARJALA CUP FINALE
JASON LA ROSE
HELSINKI, Finland – Gilbert Brulé (Edmonton, Alta./Kunlun Red Star, KHL) and Maxim Noreau (Montreal, Que./SC Bern, NLA) scored to give Canada’s National Men’s Team a pair of one-goal leads, but it dropped a 4-3 decision to Finland to close out the 2017 Karjala Cup on Sunday.
The Canadians finished with a win and two losses in the round-robin tournament, good for fourth place.
Matt Ellison (Duncan, B.C./Metallurg Magnitogorsk, KHL) did the work on the first goal, battling behind the net before finding Brulé in front to put the Canadians up 1-0 just 2:22 in, but Sakari Manninen got the Finns even 10 minutes later to send the game to the intermission tied 1-1.
Noreau restored the lead for Canada midway through the second period, hammering a point shot past Finnish netminder Eero Kilpelainen for a power-play goal, only for the hosts to answer on a very late man advantage of their own; Sami Lepisto beat Ben Scrivens (Spruce Grove, Alta./Salavat Yulaev Ufa, KHL) from the slot with just six seconds left in the middle frame, making it a 2-2 game after 40 minutes.
Finland took its first lead less than three minutes into the third period when a bouncing puck found Miro Heiskanen at the side of the net, but Christian Thomas (Toronto, Ont./Wilkes Barre/Scranton, AHL) jumped all over an offensive-zone turnover to bring the Canadians even at 6:25.
Eeli Tolvanen provided the winner for the Finns with less than eight minutes to go on another power play, walking in to the face-off dot and wiring a wrist shot over the blocker of Scrivens.
The Canadian puck-stopper was terrific in the dying minutes to keep his team within a goal, but Canada couldn’t find the equalizer.
Canada continues its Olympic preparations next month for the Channel One Cup in Moscow. It opens the tournament Dec. 13 against Korea, before games against the Czech Republic and the host Russians.