STATISTICS: CANADA 4, FINLAND 1
EDMONTON, Alta. – Dylan Cozens (Whitehorse, Y.T./Lethbridge, WHL) opened
and closed the scoring, leading Canada’s National Junior Team to a 4-1 win
over Finland in its preliminary-round finale Thursday at the 2021 IIHF
World Junior Championship.
The victory completes a perfect prelims for Canada, giving it first place
in Group A and setting up a quarterfinal match-up with the Czech Republic
on Saturday night (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT).
“You can be two things – happy about your performance or proud of your
performance,” head coach André Tourigny said after the game. “If you’re
happy about your performance, sometimes you get lucky here and there, and
that’s a good feeling. But to be proud of your performance, that’s even
better. Today we are all proud of the way we played.”
Dylan Holloway (Bragg Creek, Alta./University of Wisconsin, Big Ten) and
Peyton Krebs (Okotoks, Alta./Winnipeg, WHL) also added goals for the
Canadians, who allowed the Finns just a single shot on goal in the first
period and only seven through the first two.
There was no such issues at the other end; Canada racked up 35 shots
through the first two periods, hemming the Scandinavians in their own zone
for long stretches and keeping Finnish goaltender Kari Piiroinen busy.
Cozens ensured the Canadians got off to a quick start once again, striking
less than four minutes in.
“There was a bit of a battle at our blueline, and I just kind of reached
for the puck and spun with it, and we went down on a three-on-one,” Cozens
said. “I wanted to pass the whole way, and I just looked at the net quick
before I was about to pass and saw [room on the] short-side, so I just
It’s the fourth time in as many games Canada has scored first, and the
latest of those tallies was the Jordan Spence (Cornwall, P.E.I./Moncton,
LHJMQ) opener against Slovakia on Sunday, which came 4:08 in.
Cozens’ goal was the lone marker in the first period despite the Canadians
holding a lopsided 17-1 edge in shots.
The Finns had an offensive spurt early in the second period, testing
Canadian netminder Devon Levi (Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que./Northeastern
University, HE) for the first time, but the rest of the middle frame
belonged to Canada, which counted a pair of goals to extend its lead.
Holloway made it 2-0 seven minutes into the period, parking himself in
front of Piiroinen and getting his stick on a shot from Jakob Pelletier
(Quebec City, Que./Val-d’Or, LHJMQ) after the Finn had made a couple of
Krebs pushed the advantage to three just six minutes later, blindly
swatting a Bowen Byram (Cranbrook, B.C./Vancouver, WHL) rebound through his
legs and past Piiroinen.
Finland came out firing in the third period, peppering Levi with 12 shots
in total, and got within a pair of goals when Brad Lambert whipped a wicked
wrister past the Canadian puck-stopper five minutes into the final stanza.
But Levi and the Canadian defence did the job from there, and Cozens forced
another neutral-zone turnover and found the empty net with 77 seconds left
to clinch the win.
The two goals for Cozens give him 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) in 11 career games at World Juniors, pulling him even with John Tavares for sixth on the all-time Team Canada scoring list. He is four points back of Jason Allison for fifth.
“It was a good effort for 60 minutes,” Byram said. “Whenever a team is down
you know they’re going to make a push, and they did at the end, but we
weathered the storm and played a good 60 minutes.”
It’s the 14th time Canada has gone undefeated in the preliminary round
since the start of the group-stage format in 1996, and the 11th time it has
done so with four regulation-time wins (but the first since 2015).