Sunday, June 23, 2024

Canada beats Finland in WJC opener, Matt Poitras scores

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Matt Poitras scored his first goal at the World Juniors and earned his first win at the World Juniors.

Skate Pod Mailbag: Where will Poitras fit in if he returns?

The 19-year-old Boston Bruins center scored an empty-net goal late in the third period in Canada’s 5-2 win over Finland in the first group stage game of the World Junior Championship in Gothenburg on Tuesday. Sweden.

Poitras had several chances to score a point or two early in the game, but had to wait. Poitras’ line, centered around Toronto Maple Leafs first-round pick Easton Cowan and Buffalo Sabers first-round pick Mathieu Savoie, dominated in the first period and created several dangerous chances. Created.

Poitras set up Savoie on target with a great pass, but Finnish goalkeeper Niklas Kokko made a save. Savoie then returned the favor and set Poitras in the frame, but Cocco took him away with his glove. A few minutes later, Poitra’s entry into the zone created a chance for Savoie, but Cocco was there again. Late in the period, Poitras cut into the net for what would have been another scoring chance and took a hooking penalty.

In a strange move, Canada decided to split Poitras and Savoie for part of the second period, which apparently left Savoie with Connor Geekie (brother of Bruins forward Morgan Geekie) at center. It seems that the aim was to ignite a fire in the “top” line. Leafs prospect and team captain Fraser Minten was also included.

However, the entire top six just got a little quieter as a result. Fortunately for Canada, the checking line of Owen Allard, Owen Beck and Nate Danielson stepped up and scored the first two goals of the game. As Finland narrowed the lead to 2-1, Maclin Chebrini, a freshman from Boston University and likely to be the No. 1 overall pick in 2024, grabbed a rebound early in the third to give Canada a two-point lead. .

Chebrini, who led the team in scoring in the three exhibition games before the tournament, was oddly listed as a fourth-line center and played just 14 minutes and 32 seconds. He’s tied for the team lead with four shots on goal, and the chemistry between Poitras and Savoie is obvious, and moving him into the lineup is a pretty obvious move that would create more offensive power without splitting up Poitras and Savoie. It would seem like a way.

Once Poitras and Savoie were together again, they created a few more chances. Poitras got a chance to play regularly in the third period as Canada held the lead, but he hasn’t gotten many reps in Boston this season.

Poitras took a diving penalty with less than five minutes left to kill a scoring opportunity on the rush and drew a tripping penalty. However, this call was questionable as Poitras’ stick showed minimal contact with the Finnish player and did not appear to actually “trip” him.

Immediately after leaving the penalty box, Poitras dragged his skates to stay onside and finished a pass from Geeky for the goal. Poitras finished the game with three shots on goal, a plus-1 rating and was fourth among Canadian forwards with a time on ice of 18 minutes, 05 seconds.

Canada’s next game is Wednesday against Latvia (featuring Bruins prospect Dans Rokmeris) at 1:30 p.m. ET.

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