TOP LINE SHINES AGAIN, CANADA BEATS DEFENDING CHAMPS AT WJC
MONTREAL, Que. – Sam Reinhart (West Vancouver, B.C./Kootenay, WHL) scored the game’s first two goals to get the offence started, and Canada’s National Junior Team beat Finland 4-1 on Monday night at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.
The win keeps Canada perfect at 3-0, and sets up a winner-take-all showdown with the United States on Wednesday (3:30 p.m. ET/12:30 p.m. PT); the New Year’s Eve game will determine first place in Group A.
Anthony Duclair (Laval, Que./N.Y. Rangers, NHL) had a goal and an assist, and Max Domi (Toronto, Ont./London, OHL) added two helpers as the Reinhart-Duclair-Domi line continued to roll, combining for six points in the win.
Curtis Lazar (Vernon, B.C./Ottawa, NHL) scored the other Canadian goal, while Zach Fucale (Rosemère, Que./Québec, QMJHL) made 27 saves for his second victory in as many starts.
The Canadian power play struck just 5:32 in for the game’s first goal; a point shot from Shea Theodore (Aldergrove, B.C./Seattle, WHL) was redirected off the post by Reinhart, who tapped his rebound past Finnish netminder Juuse Saros.
A fast-paced, back-and-forth game didn’t produce another goal until the 13:34 mark of the second period, when Canada’s top line once again flexed its offensive muscle.
Domi took a stretch pass from Dillon Heatherington (Calgary, Alta./Swift Current, WHL) before finding Duclair, who hit Reinhart in stride down the middle for the redirection over Saros’ shoulder.
The Finns finally broke Canada’s long shutout streak late in the middle frame when Artturi Lehkonen buried his own rebound after a turnover in the Canadian end, the first goal allowed by Canada in the tournament (a span of 158:26).
Just past the midway mark of the third period, Domi took the puck hard to the Finnish net, where Duclair found a loose puck and roofed a shot over a sprawling Saros from in close to make it 3-1.
Canada would seal the deal at 14:25 of the third when Josh Morrissey (Calgary, Alta./Kelowna, WHL) fired a shot from the point that Saros was unable to cover in time before Lazar crashed the net and jammed in the 4-1 goal.
The Canadians outshot their opponents for the third time in as many games, finishing with a 36-28 advantage, and have yet to allow a power play goal in the tournament; the Finns finished 0-for-2, meaning teams are goalless in 11 chances against Canada’s penalty kill.