Canada’s Thomas Harley (5) and Dylan Cozens (22) celebrate a goal during first period IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship action against Finland, in Edmonton, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Canada’s Thomas Harley (5) and Dylan Cozens (22) celebrate a goal during first period IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship action against Finland, in Edmonton, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Canada tops pool at world junior hockey championship with dominant 4-1 win over Finland

Canadians play Czech Republic in quarter-final action Saturday

Canada clinched first place in its pool and a quarterfinal matchup against the Czech Republic with a 4-1 win over Finland at the world junior hockey championship in Edmonton Thursday.

Dylan Cozens scored twice, including an empty-net goal, for a Canadian team that went undefeated in four games in the preliminary round. Dylan Holloway and Peyton Krebs also scored for the host country. Canadian goaltender Devon Levi stopped 18-of-19 shots for his fourth win of the tournament.

Brad Lambert scored for Finland (3-1).

Karri Piiroinen, who played for the Ontario Hockey League’s Windsor Spitfires last season, had 36 saves in the loss.

The top four teams in each pool advance to the quarter-finals, where Canada will play the Czechs, the No. 4 seed in Pool B, on Saturday. Finland’s opponent will be decided by the outcome of Sweden versus the United States later Thursday.

With a 2-1-0-1 record (wins, overtime wins, overtime losses, losses) Russia will finish no worse than second in Pool B. Pool A third-seed Germany (1-1-0-2) and No. 4 Slovakia (1-0-1-2) also awaited the end of Pool B play to know their quarterfinal opponents. The semifinals are Monday followed by Tuesday’s medal games at Rogers Place.

Canada and Finland cruised through the preliminary round with three straight wins apiece and outscored their opposition a combined 44-7.

At stake Thursday was not only the top seed in the pool, but also avoiding a tougher quarterfinal opponent.

Canada dominated puck possession, scoring three unanswered goals over two periods before the Finns replied in the third. Canada’s relentless forecheck hemmed the Finns in their own zone for long stretches over the first 40 minutes. A glaring gap in Canada’s game, however, was an 0-for-5 power play.

READ MORE: Canada hammers Switzerland 10-0 to stay unbeaten at world junior hockey tourney

The Finns pulled Piiroinen for an extra attacker with over two minutes to play in regulation. Cozens battled for the puck on Canada’s blue line and in the neutral zone to get a shot away for an empty-netter.

Lambert, a Finn with a Canadian father, scored at 5:05 of the third period on his team’s lone power-play chance of the game. Lambert’s shot deflected off the stick of Canadian defenceman Thomas Harley and by Levi’s glove. Krebs collected his third goal of the tournament shovelling a backhand between his legs and under Piiroinen at 12:58 of the second period.

Canada led 2-0 at 6:54 when Jakob Pelletier’s shot from the slot deflected off Holloway’s leg and under Pirroinen’s pads.

Finland lost defenceman Ville Heinola in the third period when the Winnipeg Jets draft pick blocked a shot with his hand and went to the dressing room. Canada’s Alex Newhook also left the game and didn’t return. The forward was checked hard by Eemil Viro in the first period and suffered what looked like a shoulder injury.

It was all Canada in the opening period with hard pace and pressure in Finland’s zone and a 17-1 margin in shots, but just a one-goal lead heading into the second. The Finns held Canada scoreless on a pair of power-play chances in the first.

Cozens, a Buffalo Sabres prospect, scored at 3:49 after forcing a turnover on Canada’s blue line. Canada’s co-captain skated the puck into the zone on an odd-man rush with Connor McMichael and beat Piironen’s blocker with a snapshot. Either Canada or Finland has won gold in six of the last seven world junior tournaments.

Finland claimed the title two years ago in Vancouver, where Canada fell to the Finns 2-1 in overtime in a quarterfinal. Canada blanked Finland 5-0 in a 2020 semifinal en route to gold in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Switzerland and Austria went winless in the tournament to finish outside the quarterfinals. The two countries won’t play a relegation round. The second-tier world junior championship was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so no country earned promotion.

Switzerland and Austria will be in the field again at the 2022 world junior tournament in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta.

THE CANADIAN PRESS

To sign up for the latest news, sports and entertainment headlines, click here.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

hockeyIIHF world junior hockey

Just Posted

Ken Lucks is retiring from his post as principal of Mile 108 Elementary, following a 32-year career with the district. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Mile 108 principal bids farewell

Ken Lucks retiring after 32-year career in education

The graduating class of 2021 from Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
PHOTOS: 2021 Grads enjoy reverse grad parade in Centennial Park

Around 75 of the 90 grads showed up too the park

Miguel and Krista Vieira are looking forward to being able to spend more time with their girls Makayla, left, and Hanna. (Mandy McLelland Photography - submitted).
70 Mile General Store owners moving on

Change comes after 34 years in the family

Jenna Harvey. (Photo submitted)
RCMP looking for missing woman between 100 Mile House and Williams Lake

Jenna Harvey was last heard from a week ago and claimed to be hitchhiking north

Hunter Wilson makes a break while playing pool with Tammy Mikkelsen at the Raven Youth Activity Centre. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Raven Youth Centre reopens doors

Centre has undergone some major changes

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

Most Read