CANADA DOWNED BY FINNS IN PRE-WJC FINALE
JASON LA ROSE
VANCOUVER, B.C. – Morgan Frost (Aurora, Ont./Sault Ste. Marie, OHL) and Barrett Hayton (Peterborough, Ont./Sault Ste. Marie, OHL) scored goals, but special-teams doomed Canada’s National Junior Team in a 5-2 loss to Finland in its final pre-tournament game Sunday ahead of the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship.
The Finns scored twice on the power play and twice shorthanded to spoil Canada’s first game at Rogers Arena in front of a red-and-white-clad crowd of more than 14,000.
Finland opened the scoring just past the midway mark of the first period when Otto Latvala followed up a Teemu Enberg opportunity and banged a rebound past Canadian goaltender Michael DiPietro (Amherstburg, Ont./Ottawa, OHL), but Frost rifled a wrist shot just under the cross-bar to get Canada even less than five minutes later.
The Finns took control in the second period, scoring early and late.
Linus Nyman gave the Scandinavians the lead for good just 3:49 into the middle frame, walking out from behind the net and patiently picking his spot over the short-side shoulder of DiPietro.
Anton Lundell doubled the advantage at 17:07, knocking a rebound five-hole on netminder Ian Scott (Calgary, Alta./Prince Albert, WHL), who replaced DiPietro midway through the period.
The lead became three when Eeli Tolvanen wired a shot upstairs on Scott only 88 seconds into the third, but Hayton answered by finishing a tic-tac-toe passing play with Cody Glass (Winnipeg, Man./Portland, WHL) and Owen Tippett (Peterborough, Ont./Mississauga, OHL) for a power-play goal to get Canada back within a pair.
The Canadians dominated the third period, outshooting Finland 17-5, but couldn’t get a bounce to go their way; more than one puck hopped over a Canadian stick in front of an yawning Finnish goal.
A late power play gave Canada hope, but Santeri Virtanen curled a shot into the empty net with 1.1 seconds to go to finish off the scoring.
With exhibition play done, the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship begins Wednesday when Canada opens defence of its gold medal against Denmark (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT).