It was a disappointing end to a disappointing tournament for Team Canada at the 2016 World Junior Hockey Championship in Helsinki, Finland.
“It was a whole game of inches”, said Lowry, who was the national team’s assistant coach prior to becoming head coach this year. The goal was Finland’s 29th in the tournament, more than any other team has managed.
As the third period got underway, Canada’s Mitch Marner tied it up on a power play, but just moments later, Finland’s Sebastian Aho brought the tally to 5-4. Joe Hicketts was also penalized for firing the puck over the opposite end boards, leading to a painfully blatant delay of game penalty.
Patrik Laine struck twice for Finland, including the power-play victor with 5:50 remaining.
The Canadian entry dropped a 6-5 decision to the host Finns in Saturday’s quarter-final action.
Canada led 2-0 before Laine scored with 11.3 seconds left in the first. Canucks prospect Jake Virtanen made the long skate back to the bench, as he was whistled for a double minor. Canada with the loss finishes in third place in Group “A” with a record of 2-2 and will play Finland in their quarterfinal match on Saturday. Goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood made 23 saves. “We come in and Finland is one of the top teams in the tournament”. Contrary to what Canadians might tell you, their domination of the tournament isn’t a good thing for world hockey. His second of the game would be the final tally of the game as Finland would take a 6-5 lead and hang on for the victory.
Canada won in regulation, in the shootout and sustained two losses in the preliminary round at Helsinki Ice Hall, the smaller of the two venues hosting the world juniors.
It’s not just the offense, however, because Canada has given up goals which haven’t been fantastic. Although his skill did stand out, he ended the tournament with only no goals and 1 assist, but it wasn’t his lack of point production that helped drag the team down, it was his discipline. They came back in an epic win a year ago, with Curtis Lazar at the helm of the ship, winning gold. Canada lost 4-2. Maybe a couple of bounces went the way of the Americans, but there’s no denying that USA goalie Alex Nedeljkovic outplayed Canada’s second-string goalie Mason McDonald.
“I think the main issue was trying to stay away from that and we didn’t do that too well”. Felix Sandstrom was in the Swedish net for the final three minutes of the game and turned aside the only shot he faced. “It was a little bit of a question how we were going to come out, but we established our forecheck early on, and we got pucks on the net”. If Wilson had a player like Canada’s Virtanen, who was in penalty trouble the entire tournament and received three penalties against Finland, he would have kept playing him.
“Don’t feel really good”, said forward Dylan Strome, who had four goals in the tournament and was named one of Canada’s top players.