WJC: Finland 6 Canada 5

In the third of the quarter final games today, the winner would go on to face Sweden in the semi finals. And if this game didn’t have you on the edge of your seats regularly, I don’t what would.

Canada played a near perfect first period, getting on top of the Finnish defence, keep close gaps and causing turnovers. But it wan’t enough in the end to keep the high flying Finns at bay.

Travis Konecny got things started for Canada 5:21 into the period. John Quenneville puck up the puck behind the Finnish net, sent a pass out to the oncoming Konecny, and he fired home a one-timer for a 1-0 lead.

Dylan Strome would give Canada a 2-0 lead 5:38 later. Julien Gauthier would fire a shot that goaltender Veini Vehvilainen wasn’t able to coral. Strome pulled the puck back past the goaltender’s left pad and banged it home.

Patrik Laine would pull the Finns to within one with just 11 seconds remaining in the opening frame in a goal Canadian goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood would probably have back. Finland would outshoot Canada 9-8 in the period.

Finland would tie the game 6:18 into the period. Antti Kalapudas would enter the Canadian zone, but defenseman Brandon Hickey would fall and Kalapudas would face Blackwood head on. The Finnish shooter made no mistake and the game was even.

Less than a minute later the Canadians thought they had taken the lead. The officials on the ice ruled no goal and video review could not find conclusive evidence that the puck crossed the line.

But just 11 seconds after the review, Canada did take the lead as Jake Virtanen found Lawson Crouse who fired a shot past Vehvilainen. That would be the end of the Finnish goaltender who allowed 3 goals on 10 shots and he was replaced by Kaapo Kahkonen.

At 15:44, Finland’s lethal powerplay went to work. Aleksi Saarela scored a weak goal as he fired from a bad angle. Blackwood failed to hug his post and the shot found the hole, went off of Blackwood and into the back of the goal.

Finland would take it’s first lead just 1:33 later. Olli Juolevi, who had a very good game for the Finns and Saarela would set up Julius Nattinen who would beat Blackwood glove side and close the period out with the Finns up 4-3.

The third period would be the Mitch Marner show. Marner tied the game at 4 with a powerplay goal 3:14 into the period. Brayden Point moved in from the right, sent a pass to Marner who put in the backhander while cutting to the middle.

Finland would take a 5-4 lead at 4:21 when Laine sent a long, perfect pass to Jesse Puljujarvi streaking down the right side. Blackwood would make the original save but Sebastian Aho was Johnny on the spot to knock home the rebound.

Point and Marner would team up again at 5:57 of the period on the powerplay. Point found Marner who moved in, and with a little toe drag eluded a Finnish defender and fired a perfectly placed shot to beat Kahkonen. 

That’s when things fell apart for Canada with some selfish and untimely penalties.

While on a man advantage of their own, Virtanen would haul down a Finnish penalty killer As the Finns moved up ice, he took a second penalty by slashing the stick out of the hands of the Finnish player and Canada would be down a man for 3:05.

But it wasn’t over yet. Joe Hicketts would try and send the puck the length of the ice, but his high clear would go over the glass and now Canada would be short two men.

And Laine would make them pay on the powerplay before Virtanen’s second penalty was over. Canada would kill the remainder of the powerplay, and later pull Blackwood for an extra attacker, but could not get the equalizer.

Marner was named Canada’s player of the game while Laine was named Finland’s.

Hicketts, Strome and Matt Barzal were named Canada’s 3 best players for the tournament.

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