Finland defeats Canada for gold medal at hockey world championship

Canada will take home silver

Canada had to settle for silver at the world hockey championship after a 3-1 loss to Finland in Sunday’s final.

Finnish Captain Marko Anttila’s second goal of the game broke a 1-1 tie early in the third period as the Finns defeated Canada for a second time at the tournament. Harri Pesonen added an insurance goal with four minutes to play and goaltender Kevin Lankinen made 42 saves.

Shea Theodore had Canada’s only goal and Matt Murray made 19 saves.

The gold is Finland’s first at the tournament since 2011. Canada’s silver pushes its medal tally to four in the last five years.

Theodore gave Canada a 1-0 lead with 9:58 left to play in the first. The 23-year-old defenceman from Langley, B.C., picked up a feed from forward Anthony Mantha near the Finnish blue line, then jetted down the slot before depositing the puck high over the glove of Kevin Lankinen. Canada outshot Finland 15-9 in the first period.

Anttila tied the game early in the second period on a power play. Theodore was called for tripping at the 2:15 mark and Anttila’s sharp shot got through Murray’s legs 20 seconds into the man advantage. It was Anttila’s second goal in as many days. He also scored in Finland’s 1-0 upset win over Russia in Saturday’s semifinal.

Anttila came through again with his second of the game 2:35 into the third, igniting the pro-Finland crowd in sold-out Ondrej Nepela Arena with a shot that beat Murray high. Harri Pesonen added an insurance goal with 4:06 left to play in the third.

Canada came from behind with late goals to win games against Slovakia and Switzerland earlier in the tournament, and kept the pressure on during the dying minutes. But Lankinen was there to stop them.

Finland iced an unheralded roster that featured only two players who spent any time in the NHL this season. Finland opened its tournament by handing the Canadians their only loss of the preliminary round and ultimately finished second in the Group A standings behind Canada.

The Finns then knocked off the two-time defending champions from Sweden in the quarterfinal before eliminating the undefeated, star-studded Russian team in the semis. Draft-eligible Kaapo Kakko led the scoring for Finland with six goals, while Lankinen came into Sunday’s game with a 6-1 record, .933 save percentage and 1.57 goals-against average.

Canada is the only team to have reached the semifinal at the world championship for the last five straight years. The Canadians won gold in 2015 and 2016 and silver in 2017 before finishing fourth in 2018.

Sunday’s final appearance marked an impressive return to the bench for Canada’s coach Alain Vigneault. The veteran NHL coach was dismissed by the New York Rangers at the end of the 2017-18 season. After a year away from the game, he’ll take over the coaching duties for the Philadelphia Flyers in 2019-20.

Earlier Sunday, Russia beat the Czech Republic 3-2 in a shootout for bronze. Russia was outshot 50-30 through 70 minutes of play, including 10 minutes of sudden-death 3-on-3 overtime, but outscored the Czech Republic 2-0 in the shootout on goals from Ilya Kovalchuk and Nikita Gusev.

ALSO READ: Faces of concussions: NHL’s head-on battle with an epidemic

Carol Schram, The Canadian Press


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