Gothenburg, Sweden –
Nate Danielson had a goal and an assist as Canada defeated Finland 5-2 on Tuesday in the opening game of the World Junior Hockey Championship.
Macklin Celebrini and Owen Allard also scored for Canada, making 24 saves from Matisse Rousseau in the Boxing Day win to open the annual under-20 tournament. Matthew Poitras and Maverick Lamoureux scored into an empty net. Lamoureux also added an assist and scored two points.
Mr. Aleksanteri Kaskimäki and Mr. Jere Lasila answered on behalf of Finland. Niklas Kokko made 26 stops.
Canada, two-time gold medalists seeking their third consecutive title since 2009, will only have one player returning from the 2023 Halifax Games.
Many observers see the United States and host Sweden as favorites over the Canadians, largely because of the talent left at home.
Canada has five fewer players currently in the professional ranks, including Connor Bedard, who broke the national record with Halifax last year, while defenseman Tristan Renaud, who appeared in six games with the Anaheim Ducks this season, is out. He was listed on the roster before being suspended. He was hospitalized with a viral infection.
The North American team took the lead with 3:36 left in the first period on Tuesday when Lamoureux received a pass from defensive partner Denton Matejczuk and took a shot, but the shot missed Danielson and dribbled past Cocco’s goal line. exceeded.
The Finnish netminder made a number of good saves early in the period, including a 3 off the stick of Mathieu Savoie and a shot by Poitras.
But Rousseau, who was twice passed over in the NHL draft, got Canadian fans out of their seats just before Danielson’s icebreaker, when he put his body on the line and made a nice glove stop from Lennie Hameyenaho.
In the second, Jordan Dumais hit the post on a breakaway chance to make it 2-0.
Allard, another undrafted player on the roster, pushed Canada up by two points with 6:19 left, requiring a video review after his shot off a Danielson feed also caught the iron. Bounced off Kokko’s skate in the sequence.
Finland finally got one point ahead of Rousseau on the power play 2 minutes and 15 seconds later when Kaskimäki hit a point shot on the second floor of the Skadinavium Arena.
Celebrini, a 17-year-old presumptive No. 1 pick in the 2024 NHL Draft, hit the crossbar seven minutes into the third, then immediately scrambled to push the puck over the line at the 6:00 mark, which was not denied. 38.
Poitras scored into an empty net with 2:26 left in regulation, and Lasila scored the winning goal with 64 seconds remaining.
Lamoureux hit his second empty-netter in the final minute.
Canada is in Group A with Finland, Sweden, Latvia and Germany. Group B consists of the United States, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Switzerland and Norway.
Thousands of Canadians have arrived in this city of about 600,000 people on Sweden’s west coast. This is the seventh time the event has been held in the country, and the first since Malmö in 2014.
Canada received six penalties, including four trip calls, one hooking and one boarding. Finland was whistled for one two-minute violation for hooking in the first run, and one violation for roughing towards the end of the third.
Finally on Swedish time
Poitras joined Canada last week after appearing in 27 games in the NHL this season. The 19-year-old Boston Bruins center said he took time to adjust to the change in time. “I definitely feel a lot better,” Poitras said. “The first day I got here I didn’t sleep. I was running on adrenaline. It actually felt great on the ice. The next few days I felt like a zombie. .”
Canadian blueliner Ty Nelson did not participate in Monday’s practice due to travel issues (resulting in an official team photo delay). The Seattle Kraken draft pick was left out of selection camp, but was added to the group along with Jorian Donovan over the weekend after Reneau and fellow defenseman Tanner Molendyk (wrist) were ruled out.
On Wednesday, Canada plays Latvia and Finland plays Germany.