Drew Doughty’s second goal of the night at 2:32 of overtime gave Canada a 2-1 win over Finland. Canada finishes third, Finland fourth in the overall standings.
It was Doughty’s second goal of the night and fourth of the tournament. Defencemen have counted six of Canada’s eleven goals so far.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” Doughty said self-effacingly. “I don’t score like this in L.A. at all. A lot of it’s just my teammates. They’re doing a great job getting me the puck. When you’re playing with these high-skilled forwards, all you need to do is find some room on the ice and they’re going to find you. I’m just trying to get my shots through on net.”
Canada will now play the winner of Switzerland-Latvia while the Finns will play the Russia-Norway winner.
“We’ll see as we go along here how it unfolds,” said Patrick Sharp, back in the lineup after sitting out a game as a healthy scratch. “I think more than anything, we just want to worry about the way we’re playing and what we’re trying to do. We want to have that possession time. I think we probably did, but we know we can still try to create a few more scoring chances with that possession time.”
The overtime result was a wasted chance for both teams. Had either won in regulation, it would have played the winner of the weakest winner from the qualification round, either Austria or Slovenia. Now, the road to gold gets a little more difficult for both.
Carey Price started his second game for Canada and faced only 14 shots but looked poised all the way through. He made his finest save off Sami Salo in the overtime.
“We played solid tonight,” he said. “It was a similar game to the game against Norway–just be ready when you’re called upon.”
The game featured only one minor penalty to either team as the referees let the players decide the game’s outcome.
“A lot of good things happened,” noted Finnish captain Teemu Selänne. “Obviously, we have a lot of guys that have never played against these big stars before. I think the first period was a little bit nervous in many ways. But when we realized that we can compete against these guys, I think we played well. It could go either way. A little tough break at the end, but what are you going to do?”
It was only a matter of time before coach Mike Babcock put Patrice Bergeron on a line with Sidney Crosby. After all, the two connected brilliantly at the 2005 World Junior Championship and again at the 2006 senior World Championships, and things weren’t working out with Chris Kunitz and Martin St. Louis as wingmen to Crosby.
Jamie Benn was the third member of the line, but Bergeron took the faceoffs on his strong side, leaving Crosby on the wing at times.
“It’s not a bad thing,” Crosby said. “There’s a lot of open ice on the wings, so sometimes that can help. We’ve played together in the past. We held onto the puck a lot, had some decent chances, hopefully had something we can improve on. ”
The Canadians thought they had opened the scoring at 7:58 on as weird a play as you’ll see. A long shot bounced off the glass behind Rask and landed on the top of the net, but Rick Nash skated by and popped it off. The puck landed on Rask’s back and dribbled into the net.
Video review, however, concluded that Nash’s high stick was what propelled the puck into the net and disallowed the goal.
Canada got a legit score six minutes later, on the power play. Drew Doughty, with his team best third goal, drilled a shot to the short side up high at 13:44 to give the Canadians a 1-0 lead. Moments later, Chris Kunitz had appoint-blank chance but he was robbed by Rask.
The game, however, lacked flow or excitement and was played even without much emotion. Scoring chances were remote and end-to-end action scuppered by effective checking, quick puck pursuit, and the defending team taking away time from the offensive team to be creative.
The Finns tied the game like a bolt of lightning, with exactly two minutes left in the middle period. Ossi Väänänen’s point shot was nicely tipped in front by Tuomo Ruutu, giving the crowd a little something to cheer about and setting up a third period with first place on the line.
Teams played cautiously and although Canada cycled the puck well, it couldn’t beat Rask. In the overtime, Doughty took the puck down the left wing before firing a low shot to the far side that eluded Rask.
“They played very well defensively and they kept us to the outside,” said Canadian defenceman Shea Weber. “They come at you and they’re quick. It was a good test for us. We’ve continually gotten better. I think we even got better as the game went on tonight. That’s our goal.”
IHLC: With the win, Canada captures its 58th International Hockey Lineal Championship, its first since April 2012, just prior to the start of the 2012 World Championships in Helsinki. Finland entered the Sochi Games as IHLC holders, successfully defending against Austria and Norway before dropping the title. The last time these two met over the IHLC was in April 2008, in an exhibition just prior to the 2008 Worlds in Québec City, with Canada winning 3-2. Canada next faces the winner of the Switzerland-Latvia Qualification Playoff game on February 19.
12:28 – PEN – Immonen, interference
13:44 – PP GOAL – Doughty (Weber, Crosby)
18:05 – PEN – Nash, high sticking
38:00 – GOAL – Ruutu (J. Jokinen, Väänänen)
52:32 – GOAL – Doughty (Carter)
W: Price (14-15)
L: Rask (25-27)
SHOTS ON GOAL
8+9+8+2 = 27
8+4+2+1 = 15
Goaltenders: Roberto Luongo, Carey Price. Defence: Jay Bouwmeester, Drew Doughty, Dan Hamhuis, Duncan Keith, Alex Pietrangelo, Marc-Édouard Vlasic, Shea Weber (A). Forwards: Jamie Benn, Patrice Bergeron, Jeff Carter, Sidney Crosby (C), Matt Duchene, Ryan Getzlaf, Chris Kunitz, Patrick Marleau, Rick Nash, Corey Perry, Patrick Sharp, John Tavares, Jonathan Toews (A).
Goaltenders: Antti Niemi, Tuukka Rask. Defence: Juuso Hietanen, Lasse Kukkonen, Sami Lepistö, Olli Määttä, Sami Salo, Kimmo Timonen (A), Ossi Väänänen, Sami Vatanen. Forwards: Juhamatti Aaltonen, Mikael Granlund, Jarkko Immonen, Jussi Jokinen, Olli Jokinen, Leo Komarov (A), Petri Kontiola, Lauri Korpikoski, Jori Lehterä, Antti Pihlström, Tuomo Ruutu, Teemu Selänne (C).