WORLD JUNIORS PREVIEW: CANADA VS. FINLAND
Monday, August 15 | 4 p.m. MT | Edmonton, Alberta | Preliminary Round
With first place in Group A on the line, Canada’s National Junior Team is seeking one more win to finish a perfect preliminary round as it meets Finland on Monday at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Canada improved to 3-0 on Saturday night, defeating Czechia 5-1. The Canadians fell behind early thanks to a shorthanded goal by Martin Rysavy on a five-minute power play, but Mason McTavish tied the game with under four minutes to go in the first period, and Kent Johnson netted a highlight-reel lacrosse-style goal to send Canada to the dressing room with the lead. Ridly Greig scored a power-play marker, McTavish added his tournament-leading sixth goal in the middle frame, and Tyson Foerster capped the scoring in the third. Canada pounded Czech goaltender Tomas Suchanek with 57 shots, while Dylan Garand made 22 saves in the Canadian net.
Finland will go back-to-back Monday, having downed Slovakia 9-3 on Sunday afternoon. The Finns got off to a quick start, with Kasper Simontaival finding the back of the net 35 seconds into the game. It was the power play that was the difference; Finland converted five times with the man advantage. Simontaival and Joel Määttä led the offence with two goals apiece, while Aatu Räty and Kasper Puutio had a goal and two assists each.
The two teams last faced off on New Year’s Eve 2020 in the prelim finale at the 2021 World Juniors in the Edmonton bubble. Dylan Cozens opened and closed the scoring, Dylan Holloway and Peyton Krebs added goals and Devon Levi made 18 saves in a 4-1 victory for Canada. The win clinched the 14th perfect preliminary round for Canada since the group-stage format was introduced in 1996.
WHAT TO WATCH
How about Captain Canada? Mason McTavish has been outstanding in Edmonton, leading the tournament in goals (six), points (10) and plus/minus (plus-9). More than halfway to the all-time Canadian record for points in a single World Juniors (Dale McCourt and Brayden Schenn hold the mark with 18), look for the Anaheim Ducks prospect to continue have a big impact on the Canadian offence against the Finns.
Any time Finland can get a power play, there’s a good chance it will capitalize on it. In their first three games, the Finns are 8-for-13 with the man advantage. Six different players have scored while a man up, including two each from Määttä (both against the Slovaks) and Roni Hirvonen. If Canada runs into penalty trouble, look for the Finns to take advantage.
A LOOK BACK
The Canadians have faced the Finns 38 times since the first IIHF World Junior Championship in 1977, fashioning a 23-9-6 (W-L-T) record. The teams are also frequent foes in the playoff round; in the last decade, they’ve matched up in the quarterfinals (2016, 2019), semifinals (2014, 2020) and bronze medal game (2012). Jonathan Huberdeau owns the best single-game performance by a Canadian against the Finns, posting a goal and four assists in a tournament-opening 8-1 win in 2012.
All-time record: Canada leads 23-9-6 (Finland leads 1-0 in OT/SO)
Canada goals: 151
Finland goals: 98