DOUGHTY’S TWO GOALS, INCLUDING OT WINNER, LEAD CANADA OVER FINNS
JASON LA ROSE
SOCHI, Russia – Drew Doughty (London, Ont./Los Angeles, NHL) scored twice, including the winner 2:32 into overtime, to lead Canada’s Men’s Olympic Team to a 2-1 victory over Finland in the preliminary round finale for both Sunday at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
The win means Canada finishes first in Group B and will not have to play a qualification round game; it will meet the winner of Tuesday’s Switzerland-Latvia qualifier in a Wednesday quarter-final.
Doughty finished the preliminary round as Canada’s leading goal-scorer, with four goals in three games; by comparison, Latvia and Slovakia scored three and two, respectively, as a team.
The Canadians opened the scoring just shy of the 14-minute mark of the first period, and for the second game in a row it was Doughty doing the honours; the blue-liner took a pass from Shea Weber (Sicamous, B.C./Nashville, NHL) and snapped a shot short-side over the shoulder of Finnish netminder Tuukka Rask on a Canadian power play.
After a fairly even first period – the shots were deadlocked at 8-8 – the Canadians controlled the play for much of the second, with long stretches in the offensive zone, but couldn’t extend their lead.
The Finns capitalized on their fourth, and final, shot of the middle frame; Sami Salo’s point shot was deftly deflected by Tuomo Ruutu past Canadian goaltender Carey Price (Anahim Lake, B.C./Montreal, NHL) to tie the game 1-1.
After outshooting Finland 8-4 in the second period, the Canadians held another decisive advantage in the third, 8-2, but could not beat Rask, sending the game to overtime even at a goal apiece.
Doughty played the role of hero midway through the extra period; taking a pass from Jeff Carter (London, Ont./Los Angeles, NHL) and sneaking a shot under Rask’s pad for the winner.
The game was played almost exclusively at even strength; both teams took just a single minor penalty, both coming in the first period. Canada was 1-for-1 with the man advantage, while the Finns were unsuccessful on their lone opportunity.
Canada outshot Finland 27-15 overall.
The Canadians wrapped the preliminary round with two regulation-time wins and an overtime victory; it’s the first time Canada has gone undefeated through the prelims since it was a perfect 3-0 in 1998.