Canada’s opponent was tougher on Thursday, but the result was about the same as in their first three meetings at the World Junior Hockey Championship.
The Maple Leaf representatives dominated for most of the game and finished the preliminary round in top of Group A with a 4-1 victory over Finland.
Canada will face the Czech Republic in the quarter-finals on Saturday. Finland were awaiting the outcome of the late night game between Sweden and the United States in order to know the identity of their rival.
After dominating weaker opponents 29-3 in goals scored in their first three outings, Canada faced a good test against Finland. The final score does not reflect how stunned the Canadians were on Thursday.
Canada has often bottled Finland in its territory thanks to a sustained front check.
Twice Dylan Cozens, Dylan Holloway and Peyton Krebs were awarded with one goal each. Montrealer Devon Levi made 18 saves.
Brad Lambert scored Finland’s only power play goal in the third period. Kari Piiroinen turned away 37 shots.
Canada lost the services of forward Alex Newhook, who suffered a good bodycheck in the first period. He sustained an upper body injury.
For the fourth time in as many games, Canada opened the scoring in the first five minutes of play. Cozens orchestrated a three-on-one counterattack and beat Piiroinen with a wrist shot from the side. shield at 3:49.
Jakob Pelletier had a golden opportunity to widen the gap halfway in the first period. He took advantage of a perfect lob from Jack Quinn to escape, but Piiroinen then frustrated him with his left pad.
For his part, Krebs missed an open net on a return to the power play late in the opening.
Canada led Finland 17-1 in shots on goal in the first period.
He picked up where he left off when he came back from the locker room, cornering Finland in its territory on several occasions.
The efforts of the players in red ended up paying off. Canada doubled its lead to 6:54, when a shot from Pelletier deflected onto Holloway’s right skate before crossing the goal line.
Krebs made it 3-0 at 12:58. He took advantage of a comeback after a Bowen Byram pitch to beat Piiroinen.
Canada could have widened the gap early in the third period, but Ryan Suzuki was imprecise after receiving a pass from Philip Tomasino, while Connor McMichael hit the horizontal bar a little later.
The Finns took advantage of a power play to finally enter the score at 5:05. Lambert beat Levi with a wrist shot that appeared to deflect on defenseman Thomas Harley’s stick.
Cozens confirmed the result with an empty net goal with 1:17 left on the clock.