Canada finishes in first, Finland fourth. Canada will play Germany, the Finns will play the U.S. in the quarter-finals.
Mitch Marner, a natural passer of great skill but often reluctant shooter, scored two goals in the first period and assisted on another to lead Canada to an impressive win over Finland in the final round-robin game in Paris.
The win gives Canada six wins and an overtime loss to conclude the round robin while the loss leaves the Finns with a 2-2-1-2 record.
“I hope we’re peaking at the right time,” said Canada’s Matt Duchene. “This is the time to peak right now. We have three games left in our season and we want to make them count. We go 3-0 and we’ve got a three-peat here. It’d be huge.”
“Our last two games were good,” said defenceman Colton Parayko, who scored another goal on a rocket shot from the point tonight. “I thought we basically played two 60-minute games. This was a good test for us, a good way to go into the quarter-finals. We know it’s going to be a tough challenge no matter who we play. These are games that can go either way with one bounce, so we want to be on top of our game. We’re all clicking well, and I think we’ve done a good job.”
“I think they’re really fast,” Finn Valtteri Filppula said of the United States. “They play that North American style, and you can’t turn the puck over. They’re going to turn the puck quick and go the other way. It’s going to be tough to chase. We’ve got to play really close defensively, play well, and hopefully turn those things into offence. We’ll make sure we get the pucks in deep every time and hopefully spend some time in their zone.”
Teams combined for three goals in an 80-second span early in the first, after which Canada settled down and controlled play the rest of the night.
The Canadians played with an intensity the Finns couldn’t match, chasing down loose pucks, cycling, effectively, and fighting off checks to make plays. In short, the winners looked more intent on winning.
Marner opened the scoring at 2:46 on a beautiful play. Coming down on the right wing on a two-on-one, he waited for a Finnish defence man to slide, toe-dragged the puck to an open area, and beat goalie Harri Säteri to the near side.
Just 22 seconds later, though, Suomi tied the score when Cal Pickard couldn’t handle a shot and the puck dropped in the crease for Jani Lajunen to whip home.
The quick burst concluded with Marner making a nice drop pass to Colton Parayko, and he wired a wicked shot unobstructed past Säteri at 4:06 to give Canada a 2-1 lead.
Marner got his second goal and third point of the period at 13:45 off a beautiful spinning back pass by Mark Scheifele behind the goal line. The move surprised the Finnish defence, and Marner was wide open, sliding a shot between Säteri’s pads.
Canada kept up the intensity and puck pressure and made it 4-1 off a lucky play midway through the second period. Mike Matheson broke his stick after taking a shot from the point, but the puck bounced off the end glass and back into the crease. Brayden Point knocked it in before Säteri could figure out where the puck had gone.
Ate Ohtamaa gave the Finns some hope when he wired a shot over Pickard’s glove at 16:51.
Any hopes of that goal spurring a third-period comeback were thwarted 34 seconds into the final period when Matt Duchene went the length of the ice and beat Säteri with a nice deke to make it 5-2.
IHLC: With the victory, Canada captures their 64th International Hockey Lineal Championship, ending Finland’s reign after just two days, gaining back the title they lost to Switzerland just three days ago in Paris. The win also improves Canada’s all-time IHLC record against Finland to 20-8-2, and is the first meeting since last year’s Worlds final, where Canada reigned in a 2-0 victory to capture their 26th Gold; this year also marks the second straight where Canada and Finland wrap up the group round, with Finland stripping Canada of the IHLC in a 4-0 win in 2016. Canada, who has clinched first place in Group B, will now play hosts Germany in the Quarterfinals, bringing the IHLC to Cologne for the Medal Round.
02:46 – GOAL – Marner (Point, Matheson)
03:08 – GOAL – J. Lajunen (Osala)
03:58 – PEN – Järvinen, hooking
04:06 – PP GOAL – Parayko (Marner)
07:33 – PEN – Aaltonen, high sticking
13:35 – PEN – Aho, roughing
13:35 – PEN – Kukkonen, abuse of official 10 min. misconduct
13:45 – PP GOAL – Marner (Scheifele, MacKinnon)
22:30 – PEN – Morrissey, high sticking
24:49 – PEN – Pihlström, tripping
28:09 – GOAL – Point (Matheson, Parayko)
29:21 – PEN – de Haan, tripping
36:51 – GOAL – Ohtamaa (Honka, Kemppainen)
40:34 – GOAL – Duchene (Couturier)
45:41 – PEN – Skinner, elbowing
48:34 – PEN – Vlasic, cross checking
49:32 – PEN – de Haan, slashing
57:46 – PEN – Pyörälä, slashing
W: Pickard (18-20)
L: Säteri (23-28)
SHOTS ON GOAL
15+7+6 = 28
6+8+6 = 20
Goaltenders: Chad Johnson, Calvin Pickard. Defence: Calvin de Haan, Jason Demers, Chris Lee, Michael Matheson, Josh Morrissey, Colton Parayko, Marc-Édouard Vlasic (A). Forwards: Sean Couturier, Matt Duchene, Claude Giroux (C), Alex Killorn, Travis Konecny, Ryan O’Reilly (A), Nathan MacKinnon, Mitchell Marner, Brayden Point, Mark Scheifele, Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds, Jeff Skinner.
Goaltenders: Joonas Korpisalo, Harri Säteri. Defence: Juuso Hietanen, Julius Honka, Topi Jaakola (A), Joonas Järvinen, Lasse Kukkonen (C), Ville Lajunen, Mikko Lehtonen, Atte Ohtamaa. Forwards: Juhamatti Aaltonen, Sebastian Aho, Valtteri Filppula (A), Markus Hännikäinen, Joonas Kemppainen, Jani Lajunen, Oskar Osala, Antti Pihlström, Mika Pyörälä, Mikko Rantanen, Tomi Sallinen, Veli-Matti Savinainen.