Monday , October 25 2021

Special teams hurt Canada in world junior defeat in Finland


VANCOUVER – You always remember the children's Christmas shows. Of course, they would forget their lines, bump into each other, fiddle with their fantasies, and overturn the manger.

But you liked it because you knew these shows would not last forever.

The Team Canada teens held the final rehearsal Sunday for the hockey world championship that kicks off Boxing Day in Vancouver and Victoria. Most things could go wrong, but it was less charming than when the kids were small.

Still, it was just a rehearsal and the actual show does not start until Wednesday.

But Finland's well-deserved 5-2 victory at the Rogers Arena provided proof that the Canadians have a lot of work to do before the opening night of a tournament in which Canada is the current champion and will always be the favorite to win in our House. Earth.

"The learning curve in a youth tournament is very steep and you need to learn in a hurry," Canadian coach Tim Hunter of Canada's junior team said in the last two years, told reporters. "We will have to learn from this experience in a hurry.

"The Finns had a sense of urgency to start the game, to compete and play physically and we did not, and we were chasing the game from then on."

Finland led 3-1 in the third quarter, beating and outclassing the Canadians around the puck.

In their three pre-tournament games, Team Canada survived a weak second time in a 5-3 win against Switzerland, looked good in a 6-1 win against Slovakia and lost convincingly against Finland when the Canadians faced their only medal candidate.

"Going into the tournament now, we'll be better prepared," said Canadian Cody Glass. "Nothing comes easy just because we are the Canadian team.Nothing is given to us.We have to play hard, we have to work for everything and we have to compete for 60 minutes."

Nineteen of Canada's 34 shots came in the final 20 minutes as Finland defended their two-goal lead by winning 1-1 with Eeli Tolvanen goalkeeper Ian Scott replacing Michael DiPietro halfway. through the game as planned.

Two of the Finnish goals were in power play, and the first of them was shorthanded and made 1×0 at 10:26 when Otto Latvala scored in the rebound after Canadian Evan Bouchard hit the puck and Owen Tippett was outplayed by Teemu Engberg. on a breakaway.

After losing 3-1 at the end of the second half, Canada failed in a five-for-three power play in 60 seconds and then charged a penalty when Aarne Talvitie fought for another short-handed breakaway for Finland.

"We did not have a sense of urgency with the disc, a sense of speed," Hunter said of his power play. "I really liked the Finnish power game, they shook, they changed quickly, they attacked us." "We did nothing to make their penalty killers work." "We changed that slowly, I could have killed a penalty out there." "

Hunter is 58 years old and he may have told the truth, so Canada's power game was sometimes static.

Canada goals were scored by Morgan Frost and Brett Hayden. It is unclear who will be Canada's titular goalkeeper on Boxing Day against Denmark, although Scott has been slightly better than DiPietro in the pre-tournament games.

Full of confidence, Finland opens against Sweden in Victoria.

They played without fear on Sunday.

"Why do we have to fear? We have good players on our team," said Finland coach Jussi Ahokas. "It's not something for us Finns, we do not fear, we want to play and the biggest thing we can do is play the record and have the courage to play."

Canadian forward Maxime Comtois, the only player to return from last year's gold medal, said: "It was a very difficult game for our team, we do not play with a sense of urgency. Finns and we can not give a game like that to the fans.It was not very good.but we will learn from it and be ready on the 26th. "

Ready or not, it's show time.

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