dec 31 can fin

World Juniors Recap: Canada 4, Finland 1

Dylan Cozens opened and closed the scoring, and Canada downed Finland to finish atop Group A in Edmonton

Jason La Rose
December 31, 2020


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 released it.”

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 point-blank stops.

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).

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

[email protected] 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

[email protected]

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

[email protected]

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