Canada finished a perfect 4-0 in the preliminary round after a 6-3 victory over Finland. The Canadians once again showed why they are contenders for the gold medal after outshooting the Finns 37-25. Although he did not face a ton of shots, Dylan Garand was strong in net again stopping 22 of the 25 shots he faced.
Captain Canada Once Again Leads By Example
Another game, another goal for Canadian captain and Anaheim Ducks prospect Mason McTavish as he scored his tournament-leading seventh goal in the win. He also added two assists and was a plus-1 in the faceoff dot. There is little question that from an offensive perspective, he has been the best player in this tournament, but versus Finland, he showed off not just on the scoresheet but in the defensive end as well.
Whether it was blocking shots, playing a physical game or killing off penalties, McTavish made an impact every shift he played. He led by example and carried the Canadian forward group throughout the game. While his offensive game will get most of the credit, this is a prospect who has shown he will do whatever it takes to win and is determined to lead his team to a gold medal.
Penalty Trouble Again For Canada
Just like in their game against Latvia, the Canadians showed no discipline in the third period. They took four straight penalties, which included a game misconduct kneeing call against Will Cuylle. Due to their undisciplined play, they were forced to kill off two five on threes and were shorthanded for just over eight minutes during the period. The result was Finland’s power play cashing in late in the third to make the game 5-3.
The Canadians have the third most penalty minutes in the tournament with 53 in four games. The only teams that had more penalty minutes were Austria and Slovakia, who finished last in their groups and did not qualify for the quarterfinals. Canada got extremely lucky today that they didn’t blow their lead in the third against a Finnish power play that had been unstoppable coming into the game. The coaching staff needs to address this problem ASAP as the competition is just going to get more difficult from here on out.
Ottawa Senators Prospects Stepping Up Big For Canada
Team Canada can thank the Ottawa Senators for their win last night as Ridly Greig and Zack Ostapchuk played massive roles in the victory. The Senators Finnish prospects also stepped up, with Leevi Meriläinen making 31 saves and Roby Järventie scoring a power play goal. It is safe to say that general manager Pierre Dorion was pleased watching this game.
Greig has been one of Canada’s best players all tournament and once again was at his best versus Finland. He was able to shut down the Finns’ top line for most of the game and was a driving force on the penalty kill in the third period. He also scored the game-winning goal in the second while also being credited with an assist in the first. As for Ostapchuk, this was his best game of the tournament. He played the fourth most minutes by a Canadian forward in the third and helped seal the win with an assist on Canada’s empty netter. It is clear he has earned the coach’s trust, and he was given more responsibility, including penalty kill time, as the game wore on. Both these Senators’ prospects were key parts of Canada’s victory and will need to continue their strong play into the quarterfinals and beyond.
Passing an Issue For Canada
One area Canada needs to work on is their breakout passing. Time and time again, it seemed that the Canadian forwards would blow the zone early, and the defencemen would try to hit them with stretch passes rather than making accurate simple passes to start the breakout. While this play worked a few times, Finland was able to intercept the majority of them which helped the Finns transition the puck back into the offensive zone.
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The good news for Canada is that Finland was not able to capitalize on these mistakes. The Canadians are a fast team, which means they can get back in the play but need to be careful with these passes moving forward. If they try these types of plays against the Americans, who are the fastest team in this tournament, it will most certainly result in an odd-man break that could hurt Canada on the scoresheet.
Canada Off To The Quarterfinals
After a perfect 4-0 run in the preliminary rounds, Canada will be facing off against Switzerland in the quarterfinals. The last time these two nations met, Canada defeated the Swiss 10-0 during the 2021 World Juniors. During the game, the Canadians outshot Switzerland 52-15 on the same ice surface Wednesday’s quarterfinals matchup is set to be played on. The puck drops at 7 pm ET on NHL Network in the United States and TSN in Canada.
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|Team USA||Players to Watch||Roster|
|Team Austria||Players to Watch||Roster|
|Team Czechia||Players to Watch||Roster|
|Team Finland||Players to Watch||Roster|
|Team Germany||Players to Watch||Roster|
|Team Sweden||Players to Watch||Roster|
|Team Switzerland||Players to Watch||Roster|