COMTOIS SCORES OT WINNER, CANADA EDGES FINNS AT SHOWCASE
JASON LA ROSE
KAMLOOPS, B.C. – Antoine Morand (Mercier, Que./Halifax, QMJHL) set up Maxime Comtois (Longueuil, Que./Drummondville, QMJHL) for the winner in the final minute of overtime, giving Canada a 4-3 extra-time victory over Finland on Thursday night at the Sport Chek World Junior Showcase.
Noah Dobson (Summerside, P.E.I./Acadie-Bathurst, QMJHL) led the offence with a pair of goals for the Canadians, who went up 3-1 in the third period before the Finns rallied to force overtime.
Finland took advantage of an early power play to open the scoring; Sampo Ranta parked himself at the top of the crease and redirected a Rasmus Kupari feed past Canadian netminder Matthew Welsh (Halifax, N.S./Charlottetown, QMJHL) at 8:42.
Michael Rasmussen (South Surrey, B.C./Tri-City, WHL) answered for Canada just over four minutes later with an unassisted effort, letting go a quick shot off the left wing that found the five-hole on Finnish goaltender Filip Lindberg, sending the game to the first intermission tied 1-1.
The Canadians owned the puck in the second period, outshooting the Finns 15-4 in the frame.
Dobson had the only goal in the second, driving the net and chipping a Liam Foudy (Scarborough, Ont./London, OHL) rebound up and over Lindberg to put the Canadians up after two.
Welsh gave way to Olivier Rodrigue (Chicoutimi, Que./Drummondville, QMJHL) midway through the middle frame, having turned aside eight of the nine shots he faced. Rodrigue stopped nine of 11 the rest of the way.
A Canadian power play produced the third goal just shy of the seven-minute mark of the third period; Calen Addison (Brandon, Man./Lethbridge, WHL) found Dobson jumping in off the point, and he buried his second to extend the lead to two.
Ranta needed less than two minutes to get that one back for the Finns, splitting the defence and going to the backhand to beat Rodrigue, and Aarne Talvitie converted a shorthanded breakaway to tie the game with 7:39 left and force the extra period.
It’s right back to action Friday for both teams; the Finns will have a quick turnaround, taking on the United States (1 p.m. PT) before the Canadians face Sweden (6 p.m. PT).