Canada’s Thomas Harley (5) and Dylan Cozens (22) celebrate a goal during first period IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship action against Finland, in Edmonton, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Canada’s Thomas Harley (5) and Dylan Cozens (22) celebrate a goal during first period IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship action against Finland, in Edmonton, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Canada tops pool at world junior hockey championship with dominant 4-1 win over Finland

Canadians play Czech Republic in quarter-final action Saturday

Canada clinched first place in its pool and a quarterfinal matchup against the Czech Republic with a 4-1 win over Finland at the world junior hockey championship in Edmonton Thursday.

Dylan Cozens scored twice, including an empty-net goal, for a Canadian team that went undefeated in four games in the preliminary round. Dylan Holloway and Peyton Krebs also scored for the host country. Canadian goaltender Devon Levi stopped 18-of-19 shots for his fourth win of the tournament.

Brad Lambert scored for Finland (3-1).

Karri Piiroinen, who played for the Ontario Hockey League’s Windsor Spitfires last season, had 36 saves in the loss.

The top four teams in each pool advance to the quarter-finals, where Canada will play the Czechs, the No. 4 seed in Pool B, on Saturday. Finland’s opponent will be decided by the outcome of Sweden versus the United States later Thursday.

With a 2-1-0-1 record (wins, overtime wins, overtime losses, losses) Russia will finish no worse than second in Pool B. Pool A third-seed Germany (1-1-0-2) and No. 4 Slovakia (1-0-1-2) also awaited the end of Pool B play to know their quarterfinal opponents. The semifinals are Monday followed by Tuesday’s medal games at Rogers Place.

Canada and Finland cruised through the preliminary round with three straight wins apiece and outscored their opposition a combined 44-7.

At stake Thursday was not only the top seed in the pool, but also avoiding a tougher quarterfinal opponent.

Canada dominated puck possession, scoring three unanswered goals over two periods before the Finns replied in the third. Canada’s relentless forecheck hemmed the Finns in their own zone for long stretches over the first 40 minutes. A glaring gap in Canada’s game, however, was an 0-for-5 power play.

READ MORE: Canada hammers Switzerland 10-0 to stay unbeaten at world junior hockey tourney

The Finns pulled Piiroinen for an extra attacker with over two minutes to play in regulation. Cozens battled for the puck on Canada’s blue line and in the neutral zone to get a shot away for an empty-netter.

Lambert, a Finn with a Canadian father, scored at 5:05 of the third period on his team’s lone power-play chance of the game. Lambert’s shot deflected off the stick of Canadian defenceman Thomas Harley and by Levi’s glove. Krebs collected his third goal of the tournament shovelling a backhand between his legs and under Piiroinen at 12:58 of the second period.

Canada led 2-0 at 6:54 when Jakob Pelletier’s shot from the slot deflected off Holloway’s leg and under Pirroinen’s pads.

Finland lost defenceman Ville Heinola in the third period when the Winnipeg Jets draft pick blocked a shot with his hand and went to the dressing room. Canada’s Alex Newhook also left the game and didn’t return. The forward was checked hard by Eemil Viro in the first period and suffered what looked like a shoulder injury.

It was all Canada in the opening period with hard pace and pressure in Finland’s zone and a 17-1 margin in shots, but just a one-goal lead heading into the second. The Finns held Canada scoreless on a pair of power-play chances in the first.

Cozens, a Buffalo Sabres prospect, scored at 3:49 after forcing a turnover on Canada’s blue line. Canada’s co-captain skated the puck into the zone on an odd-man rush with Connor McMichael and beat Piironen’s blocker with a snapshot. Either Canada or Finland has won gold in six of the last seven world junior tournaments.

Finland claimed the title two years ago in Vancouver, where Canada fell to the Finns 2-1 in overtime in a quarterfinal. Canada blanked Finland 5-0 in a 2020 semifinal en route to gold in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Switzerland and Austria went winless in the tournament to finish outside the quarterfinals. The two countries won’t play a relegation round. The second-tier world junior championship was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so no country earned promotion.

Switzerland and Austria will be in the field again at the 2022 world junior tournament in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta.

THE CANADIAN PRESS

To sign up for the latest news, sports and entertainment headlines, click here.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

hockeyIIHF world junior hockey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Red Deer has nearly doubled its active COVID-19 case count since Feb. 10 and has 75.6 per cent of the Central zone’s active cases. (File photo)
Another new high: Red Deer hits 574 active COVID-19 cases

Province reports 13 new COVID-19 deaths, 430 new cases

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported 11 additional deaths over the past 24 hours. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta
Red Deer active COVID-19 cases drop slightly

Province reports 267 additional COVID-19 cases, 11 new deaths

On Monday, Feb. 22, Island Health listed Glacier View Secondary on 241 Beacher Drive in Courtenay as having a COVID-19 exposure Feb. 17 and 18. Black Press file photo
Red Deer sets new COVID-19 case record

There are now 565 active cases in Red Deer

Across the province, there are 2,738 active cases of COVID-19, with 18,417 recovered cases. There have been 288 deaths from the virus in Alberta since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
Red Deer has 564 of central zone’s 766 active COVID-19 cases

Government of Alberta identifies 328 new COVID-19 cases Sunday

COVID
Red Deer up to 546 active cases of COVID-19

Province added 380 additional cases Saturday

Bookings for COVID-19 vaccines for people age 75 or older start Wednesday. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Updated: Delays for seniors booking for vaccine appointments

By 9:20 a.m. Wednesday, 4,500 seniors had booked their appointments

Students and staff at Gateway Christian School wore pink Wednesday in support of Pink Shirt Day, a worldwide anti-bullying initiative that was started in 2007. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Public Schools)
Students, central Alberta community celebrate Pink Shirt Day

Mayor of Sylvan Lake Sean McIntyre supports anti-bullying cause

Minister Rick Wilson poses with Katie at the Boys and Girls Club of Wetaskiwin, both wearing her Pink Shirt Day design. Facebook/ Boys and Girls Club of Wetaskiwin.
Wetaskiwin Boys and Girls club Pink Shirt day design focuses on kindness

Katie with the Boys and Girls Club of Wetaskiwin created this year’s Pink Shirt Day design.

Black Press File Photo
Valentine’s Day shooting in Maskwacis leaves one male in hospital, one male in custody

19-year-old Francis Edward Nepoose from Maskwacis has been charged with attempted murder.

Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Anne Kirker is expected to sentence Satnam Singh Sandhu on Friday. Red Deer Advocate file photo
Updated: Sylvan Lake man pleads guilty to manslaughter for strangling wife in 2019

Kulvinder Sandhu was strangled and died in hospital several days later

Sentencing delayed in the stabbing death of Samantha Sharpe, of Sunchild First Nation. (Red Deer Advocate file photo)
Central Alberta man not criminally responsible for killing his father in 2020: judge

Psychiatrist testified Nicholas Johnson was psychotic when he killed his father

The cover of “Hometown Asylum: A History and Memoir of Institutional Care.” (Submitted)
Ponoka-born author writes history of old mental hospital

“Hometown Asylum: A History and Memoir of Institutional Care” covers 1911 to 1971

Jacqueline Buffalo. (Photo submitted)
TikTok connects Indigenous women during pandemic

Maskwacis influencers share their stories

Most Read