Canada completed its undefeated ascension to World Champions in dramatic status, defeating a pressing Finnish squad 3-2 to go 6-0 in the 2004 World Cup Of Hockey, win the tournament, and retain the International Hockey Lineal Championship.
Canada struck first and quite early, with their first shot on goal converting on a Joe Sakic one timer, on a beautiful give-and-go from Mario Lemieux that batted off Miikka Kiprusoff and in for the quick 1-0 lead. The Leijonat, however, played a physical, offensive game, and was quick to respond, with Riku Hahl tying the game at 1-1 just over five minutes later, wiring a point shot through the five hole of Martin Brodeur. Largely equal in terms of physical play, offensive output and shot totals, both sides played a good, balanced attack through twenty minutes.
The second period remained more of the same, with Team Canada again striking early, this time on a weak Scott Niedermayer shot likely intended to garner a rebound, but instead went through Kiprusoff’s legs at 3:15 to put Canada ahead 2-1. But while both Canada and Finland struggled through the period to garner more offense, with Kiprusoff and Brodeur playing some outstanding hockey, it was a spectacular Tuomo Ruutu individual effort, in which he skipped past Brad Richards, Simon Gagné and Scott Niedermayer to snap a 2-on-1 shot past Brodeur to stun the crowd, and tie the game again before intermission.
But it was Canada’s ability to strike early that ended up sealing the game for them, as the third period brought on more of the same, this time a behind-the-net pass from Joe Thornton to a wide open Shane Doan, who was more than happy to pot the puck past a sprawling Kiprusoff just 34 seconds into the third, to go ahead 3-2. The difference this time being that Brodeur and Canada’s defensive corps stood on their head for the remaining 19:26, in particular towards the end of the game when Kiprusoff was pulled for an extra attacker, refusing Finnish snipers like Saku Koivu and Teemu Selänne any chances to tie. The horn finally sounded, and Canada had won its fifth Canada/World Cup title, their first since 1991.
Canada entered the World Cup as International Hockey Lineal Champions, winning their 51st title from the United States in a pre-tournament exhibition game six days before the World Cup began. This was the first IHLC meeting between Canada and Finland since the Sweden Hockey Games in February 2000, where Canada won the IHLC in the Games’ finale by a familiar 3-2 score. Canada will now carry the title back to Europe for the Deutschland Cup in November.
Canada completed a perfect sweep of the World Cup, going 6-0 in the tournament with wins over the United States, Slovakia (two times, 5-1 and 5-0), Russia, the Czechs and Finland, becoming the undefeated first team in tournament history. The win was Canada’s fifth Canada/World Cup title since the tournament’s inception in 1976, and the sixth straight where the Canada/World Cup and International Hockey Lineal Championship were unified – for more, check out the IHLC @ Olympics & Invitationals page.
00:52 – GOAL – Sakic (Lemieux, Brewer)
06:34 – GOAL – Hahl (Lydman, Berg)
16:38 – PEN – Selänne, interference
23:15 – GOAL – Niedermayer (Draper, Thornton)
32:05 – PEN – Doan, tripping
39:00 – GOAL – Ruutu (Lydman)
40:34 – GOAL – Doan (Thornton, Foote)
W: Brodeur (27-29)
L: Kiprusoff (30-33)
SHOTS ON GOAL
9+12+12 = 33
7+12+10 = 29
Goaltenders: Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo. Defence: Jay Bouwmeester, Eric Brewer, Adam Foote (A), Scott Hannan, Scott Niedermayer, Robyn Regehr. Forwards: Shane Doan, Kris Draper, Simon Gagné, Dany Heatley, Jarome Iginla (A), Vincent Lecavalier, Mario Lemieux (C), Brad Richards, Joe Sakic, Ryan Smyth, Martin St-Louis, Joe Thornton.
Goaltenders: Miikka Kiprusoff, Kari Lehtonen. Defence: Aki-Petteri Berg, Toni Lydman, Teppo Numminen (A), Sami Salo, Kimmo Timonen, Ossi Väänänen. Forwards: Mikko Eloranta, Niklas Hagman, Riku Hahl, Jukka Hentunen, Olli Jokinen, Niko Kapanen, Saku Koivu (C), Jere Lehtinen, Ville Peltonen, Jarkko Ruutu, Tuomo Ruutu, Teemu Selänne (A).