CANADA FALLS TO FINNS IN GOLD MEDAL GAME
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia – Shea Theodore (Langley, B.C./Vegas, NHL) opened the scoring midway through the first period, but Canada’s National Men’s Team was left with silver at the 2019 IIHF World Championship after a 3-1 loss to Finland in the gold medal game Sunday.
It is the 15th silver medal for Canada at worlds, along with 27 gold and nine bronze.
Matt Murray (Thunder Bay, Ont./Pittsburgh, NHL) made 19 saves for the Canadians, who had won eight in a row after a tournament-opening loss to the Finns – also by a 3-1 score.
The first prime scoring opportunity went to Finland as it was awarded a penalty shot just over five minutes in; Murray kept the game scoreless by calmly knocking aside a shot from Oliwer Kaski.
Theodore netted the ice-breaker for Canada by walking through a logjam of Finns to unload a wrist shot from the slot that beat goaltender Kevin Lankinen past the glove at 10:02 of the opening period.
Canada outshot Finland 15-9 in an opening period that set a gritty tone for the rest of the affair.
Marko Anttila answered for Finland with a power-play equalizer under three minutes into the second period, beating Murray through the five-hole.
The rivals then engaged in a stretch of uninterrupted hockey for nearly 10 minutes. Murray and Lankinen took centre stage during this sequence as the two sides went up and down the ice generating quality scoring chances in transition.
The game was almost exclusively played in the Finnish zone for most of the third period as Canada racked up a cannonade of chances, but Lankinen – who made 21 saves in the final frame – was up to the task.
Antilla scored the game-winner at 2:35 of the third with a shot from the lip of the Canadian crease, and Harri Pesonen put the game out of reach by scoring on a spinning shot with just over four minutes remaining.
Following the game, Canadian forward Mark Stone (Winnipeg, Man./Vegas, NHL) – who led the tournament in goals with eight and tied for fifth with 14 points in 10 games – earned Most Valuable Player honours.
The 2020 IIHF World Championship will be played May 8-24 in Zürich and Lausanne, Switzerland.