Canada does it again

Canada does it again

Marco Meneghetti22 May 2016Marco Meneghetti»

Team Canada defeats Finland after a tense but low-scoring game


Today was the day: Finland against Canada for the gold medal. The Finns started as favorites, thanks to their brilliant record of nine wins and no losses and what proved itself to be the greatest and the best defensive system of this year's Worlds. Canada, already defeated during the group phase with a resounding 4-0, was anyways the team with the best offense, able to score high numbers of goals against their opponents. 

...and it was Team Canada to start aggressively. The Red Maple Leaf dominated puck contest, possession and attack, proving itself to be really dangerous from the start. The number of Canadian shoots on goal, which at the end of the game outnumbered strongly the Finns' one, was just one of the signs of the former's dominance. Still, Finnish goalie Mikko Koskinen (SKA St. Petersburg) was able to make some great saves, and displayed his habitual goalkeeping wonders, which make him simply one of the best goaltenders in the KHL at the moment. But he had to face Connor McDavid, the young Golden Boy of the NHL, first overall pick during last year's Entry Draft. Notwithstanding his many injuries, which slowed down his first season with the Edmonton Oilers, McDavid is always capable of doing great things when his team needs it, and this time was no exception: his goal, assisted by Matt Duchene (Colorado Avalanche), was a first blow to Finland's hopes.

But the game was still wide open: the Finnish defense was solid, and prevented Canada from scoring again for the whole 2nd period of the game, which was full of scoring opportunities on both sides, everyone of which proved itself to be fruitless. A Finn and a Canadian were both sent off for two minutes each, the Estonian-born Leo Komarov (Toronto Maple Leafs) for tripping and Mark Scheifele (Winnipeg Jets) for slashing. 

The third and last period was the last resort for the Leijonat: still, every effort of future NHL players Aho and Laine was useless, as Canada's defense was solid and effective as ever. After a double penalty inflicted to Mark Stone (Ottawa Senators) for hooking and Sebastian Aho (Oulun Kärpät) for diving (a rather dubious decision, as Stone's stick was clearly blocking Aho from behind), Finland played the last minute of the game with Koskinen out, shooting repeatedly against Canada's goal. But Fate -and Edmonton Oilers' goalie Cam Talbot- intervened, and with just seven seconds to go Brad Marchand (Boston Bruins)served an assist to Duchene for the empty net 2-0 on Suomi, which prompted the whole Canadian team to celebrate on ice even if the last second of the game had still to be played.

Canada is thus now World Champion for the 26th time and the second consecutive: the team totally deserved the win and behaved brilliantly, but Finland has to be praised as well for its really young roster (an average of 27 years of age) and the fantastic prospects who are growing up in its domestic league, the Liiga. Being world champs in the U20 category, the Finns will soon come back flying, that's for sure.

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