2021 mwc can fin

IIHF Worlds Preview: Canada vs. Finland

Sunday, June 6 | 1 p.m. ET | Riga, Latvia | Gold Medal Game

Jason La Rose
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June 6, 2021
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GAME NOTES: Canada vs. Finland (June 6)

TV: TSN | Stream: TSN Direct

From the edge of elimination to a shot at gold, Canada’s National Men’s Team will play for a 27th world title at the 2021 IIHF World Championship, facing off against Finland in a rematch of the 2019 gold medal game.

The Canadians’ playoff chances were on life support late in the preliminary round, needing at least a point in their finale against the Finns – and a little bit of help – to reach the quarterfinals. But the stars aligned and here we are – one game for all the marbles.

LAST GAME

Facing a red-hot American team that had won seven in a row and hadn’t allowed more than two goals in any game, Canada never trailed in its 4-2 semifinal win. Andrew Mangiapane provided the big goal(s) for the second game in a row and Darcy Kuemper was terrific in a 36-save performance.

The Canadians started fast in every period, scoring two minutes into the first period, four minutes into the second and 46 seconds into the third to move into the final for the fifth time in the last six worlds.

The Finns rode a pair of first-period goals to a 2-1 win over Germany in their semifinal. Iiro Pakarinen and Hannes Bjorninen scored five minutes apart late in the middle frame and Jussi Olkinuora did the rest, finishing with 27 saves to give Finland a chance to defend its 2019 gold medal.

LAST MEETING

As mentioned, the teams met in the final game of the preliminary round less than a week ago. Twice the Canadians took the lead and twice Arttu Ruotsalainen replied for the Finns, including with four minutes to go in the third period.

In the end it took a shootout to decide, and again it was Ruotsalainen who struck for Finland; his goal in Round 4 was the winner as the Finns earned a 3-2 victory. The single point the Canadians earned turned out to be the difference between a playoff spot and a flight home, and the rest, as they say, is history.

WHAT TO WATCH

We have one last chance to watch in wonder as Canada’s top line does its thing in Riga. Despite missing the first three games, Mangiapane is tied for the tournament lead with seven goals, Connor Brown sits atop the scoring race with 13 points and Adam Henrique has 10 of his own. They have been the engine that has driven the Canadian comeback.

And about that comeback … would this be the most unlikely Canadian gold medal ever? No Canadian team has ever lost its first three games at the tournament, and since the playoff format began in 1992, no team has ever started 0-3 and won gold. What a story.

As for Finland, it just keeps rolling along. There’s no one player driving the bus – Anton Lundell (4-3—7) is the only Finn in the top 30 of tournament scoring – and it’s finding ways to win despite rarely getting opportunities on the power play (just 13 in nine games) and scoring on just 7.97% of its shots (which is actually slightly ahead of Canada at 7.69%). But the Finns will find ways to smother you defensively (they have given up just 11 goals in nine games, and only five at 5-on-5), and here they are just one win from going back-to-back.

A LOOK BACK

This is meeting no. 52 between Canada and Finland at the IIHF World Championship, dating back to 1951. Only Sweden (67 games) has been a more familiar foe over the years. The Canadians enjoy a 36-13 edge (with two ties), although the Finns have won the last four meetings.

Included in those first 51 face-offs are four meetings in the gold medal game. Canada won the first three – it memorably ended its 33-year drought with a shootout victory in 1994, Rick Nash scored twice to cap an MVP performance in 2007 and Cam Talbot posted a 16-save shutout in 2016 – before the Finns got 43 saves from Kevin Lankinen to win their third world title in 2019.

All-time record: Canada leads 36-13-2 (2-2 in OT/SO)
Canada goals: 270
Finland goals: 115

For more information:

Dominick Saillant
Director, Communications
Hockey Canada
514-895-9706
[email protected]

 

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada
403-284-6484
[email protected]

 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada
Office: 403-777-4567
Mobile: 905-906-5327
[email protected]

 

Videos
Photos
2021 WPHC: CAN 2 – USA 1 (Preliminary)
Power-play goals from James Dunn and Tyler McGregor were enough to lead Canada past the U.S. 2-1 in its worlds opener.
2021 MWC: CAN 3 – FIN 2 OT (Gold Medal)
Paul was the overtime hero to give Canada the gold medal in Riga.
2021 MWC: CAN 4 – USA 2 (Semifinal)
Mangiapane scored twice to send Canada into the gold medal game.
2021 MWC: CAN 2 – ROC 1 OT (Quarterfinal)
Stecher set up Mangiapane for the OT winner to earn a semifinal spot.
Schedule