Canada added another win to their almost perfect record on Tuesday to end the preliminary round of the 2017 IIHF World Championship.
Coming off of a 5-0 shutout of Norway, Canada translated their offensive power into a 5-2 win against Finland. With a record of 6-1, they will now face Germany (2-2-1-2) in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
Mitch Marner was the star of the show for this Canadian team as he picked up two goals and an assist in the first period. Marner opened the scoring at 2:46 with a glove side shot off of a feed from Brayden Point and Mike Matheson. Finland’s Jani Lajunen immediately responded with a goal 22 seconds later tying the game 1-1 barely three minutes in.
Colton Parayko, who picked up two goals against Norway, fired one in past Harri Sateri on the powerplay to give Canada a 2-1 lead. Marner notched in another towards the end of the period to secure a two-goal lead after 20 minutes.
Nearing the midway point of the second period, Point collected his fourth goal of the tournament by hammering in a rebound off the boards. Canada held a 4-1 lead until late in the second when Atte Ohtamaa of Finland buried one in glove side past Calvin Pickard to cut Canada’s lead in half.
Just 30 seconds into the third, Matt Duchene grabbed his first point of the tournament to up Canada’s lead by three. Despite taking two risky penalties that allowed for a two-man advantage on the Finns’ behalf, Canada held onto the lead with strong defensive play. Finland, who was looking to move to third place in Group B with a win, registered no shots on goal in the last 20 minutes of play.
Game 6 – May 15 – Canada vs Norway
Team Canada bounced back from Saturday’s 3-2 overtime loss against Switzerland with a 5-0 shutout of Norway on Monday.
Canada led Norway 2-0 after 20 minutes, though they couldn’t catch this break until late in the first period. An early scoring chance came just two minutes into the game when Norwegian defenseman Johannes Johannesen took a hooking penalty that resulted in a penalty shot for Buffalo Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly. Fortunately for Norway, O’Reilly was unable to capitalize on the opportunity when netminder Henrik Haukeland came up with the save. A few minutes after that, forward Wayne Simmonds got the puck past Haukeland, but after review the goal was disallowed due to the dislodging of the net, keeping the game scoreless.
Finally, Brayden Schenn found the back of the net on a power play with just 2:12 left on the clock. He dove for the puck that came off Simmonds’ rebound and chipped it in past Haukeland for his first goal of the tournament. Just 56 seconds later Colton Parayako notched his first of the tournament on another power play to give Canada a 2-0 lead.
The Canadians built onto the lead in the second, playing a strong defensive game and only allowing two shots on goal in the period. Despite some scoring chances early on, once again the Canadians couldn’t find the net until late in the period. With just under five minutes left, Mark Scheifele tapped in a rebound off Mike Matheson’s shot right outside the crease to give Canada a 3-0 lead. Then, a late delay of game penalty for Norwegian forward Niklas Roest proved to be costly as Parayako fired a bullet from the point, grabbing his second goal of the game to give Canada a 4-0 lead after 40 minutes.
The Canadians continued to be stingy defenders in the third, allowing zero shots on goal for the Norwegians. Late in the game, Roest took another costly penalty allowing Canada to up their lead to 5-0 with 2:40 left. O’Reilly made up for his missed penalty shot with a solid power play goal, marking his fourth of the tournament.
The 10-save shutout by Canadian netminder Chad Johnson allowed Canada to clinch first place in Group B. They will play one more round robin game Tuesday against Finland at 2:15 p.m. ET.
Game 5 – May 13 – Canada vs Switzerland
Despite chasing one goalie out of the net inside the opening six and a half minutes, Canada couldn’t subdue Switzerland, losing 3-2 in overtime on Saturday in Paris.
The loss ruins Canada’s perfect group stage record at the 2017 IIHF World Championship, co-hosted between the French capital and Cologne in neighbouring Germany. With four wins and an overtime loss, Canada sits atop Group B with 13 points.
Early goals from Ryan O’Reilly at 4:22 of the first, and Mitch Marner two minutes and six seconds later was enough for Swiss head coach Patrick Fischer to pull former NHL all-star goaltender Jonas Hiller in favour of Leonardo Genoni. That move proved prophetic.
Canada outshot Switzerland 16-6 in the first, the Swiss not getting their second shot on Canada’s Calvin Pickard until the 12:18 mark of the period. The addition of Genoni however, calmed the Swiss, who were badly outshot again in the second period 13-7. Despite Canada’s dominance, the goalie who plays professionally in his home country’s top league for SC Bern was up to the task of keeping the powerful opponents at bay and Switzerland in the game.
Genoni’s good work led Switzerland to get within one of Canada at 6:37 of the third, with Fabrice Herzog scoring on a power play while Mike Matheson was in the penalty box for delaying the game.
Unthinkably for Canada, the game was equalized at 9:44 of the third when Vincent Praplan’s shot saw Pickard deflect the puck into his own net, and suddenly the game was tied 2-2.
In overtime, Canada had a chance to put the game away on a two-on-none rush but Giroux couldn’t convert on a Marner feed. Relieved, Switzerland pounced on a loose puck at 3:40 of overtime when Herzog shelved a backhand shot past Pickard for the 3-2 win, stunning Canada.
Pickard picked up the loss in his third start of the tournament as he alternates with Chad Johnson in net.
Canada – the back-to-back defending World Championship winner – outshot Switzerland 45 to 26 with Genoni stopping all 35 shots he faced since coming to his country’s rescue.
Marner assisted on O’Reilly’s first period marker, giving him two points on the night, his fifth and sixth of 2017 worlds. Interestingly, Marner’s points have all come in twos. He had a goal and an assist against Slovenia and a pair of helpers versus Belarus.
Group B action in Paris continues for Canada on Monday, May 15 against Norway.
Game 4 – May 11 – Canada vs France
It was their tightest game so far at the IIHF Men’s Ice Hockey World Championship, but Team Canada came away with a 3-2 win over host France on Thursday to push their record to 4-0.
The Canadians got on the board first, notching a power play goal after France got caught with too many men on the ice just five minutes in. Off a Nathan MacKinnon feed, Ryan O’Reilly worked the puck to his backhand from the side of the net for his second goal of the tournament.
But the French were not a team to be taken lightly, evidenced by their 5-1 win over Finland on Sunday as well as a shootout victory against Switzerland on Tuesday. Nearing the midway mark of the first period, they got the equalizer on a one-timer from Olivier Dame-Malka.
Team Canada found themselves trailing for the first time in the tournament less than two minutes into the second period. With Chris Lee in the penalty box for interference, Stephane De Costa made a nice cross ice pass to Damien Fleury who scored from one knee. But with under a minute to play in the frame, Canada evened it up with their own power play marker, courtesy of captain Claude Giroux, who snapped it home for his second of the tournament.
Canada regained the lead early in the third on an unassisted goal by Marc-Édouard Vlasic. His shot from the point ricocheted off the end boards and bounced off the skates of French goaltender Florian Hardy before being tipped in by one of his own teammates. That proved to be the game winner.
In his second start of the tournament, Chad Johnson made 22 saves in the Canadian net.
Team Canada will be back in action on Saturday against the Swiss, who sit second in Group B with two wins, one overtime win and one shootout loss.
Game 3 – May 8 – Canada vs Belarus
Team Canada continued their winning streak to stay atop Group B at the IIHF Men’s Ice Hockey World Championship with a six goal shutout against Belarus on Monday.
Canada opened the scoring early in the first at 5:08 with a one-timer from Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point at the top of the slot on a pass from Mitch Marner in the corner.
After 20 minutes, Nathan MacKinnon came out strong for Canada yet again, notching two goals in the second period. MacKinnon has been a force to be reckoned with so far this tournament, totaling seven points with five goals and two assists in three games.
A costly penalty by the Belarusians allowed for MacKinnon to fire it top shelf on the power play with 4:20 on the clock. Towards the end of the second, he buried another one in on a pass from Carolina Hurricane forward Jeff Skinner. Canada kept the lead 3-0 after 40.
Nearing the midway point of the third, it was Skinner’s turn on a pass from MacKinnon. He tapped it in top shelf, tight in the crease past Belarussian goalie Mikhail Karnaukhov. Three minutes after that, Claude Giroux buried it on a rebound giving Canada a 5-0 lead with 10 minutes left. Late in the third, Point found the net again securing the 6-0 win.
Canadian netminder Calvin Pickard picked up his second win of the tournament with a total of 12 saves.
Game 2 – May 7 – Canada vs Slovenia
Team Canada improved to 2-0 at the IIHF Men’s Ice Hockey World Championship with a dominant 7-2 win over Slovenia on Sunday.
Nathan MacKinnon was the offensive star, notching a hat trick as well as an assist, while defenceman Tyson Barrie had a goal and three assists. Travis Konecny also had three assists and Mitch Marner finished with one goal and one assist.
The Canadians opened the scoring 4:30 into the first period when Barrie took a drop pass from Wayne Simmonds and shot it through heavy traffic. Ten minutes later MacKinnon ended a lengthy puck possession by pushing a loose puck in the crease across the goal line. Less than two minutes later, Slovenian netminder Gasper Kroselj was victimized when Brayden Point tried to centre the puck but instead it went off the skate of defenceman Luka Vidmar, surprising Kroselj.
Canada jumped up 4-0 less than five minutes into the second period when Calvin de Haan got the puck to a streaking Claude Giroux, who made a spin move in front of the net. His shot was stopped, but Kroselj couldn’t contain the rebound and MacKinnon put away his second of the game. MacKinnon got the hat trick a minute later with a high shot over Kroselj’s glove while Canada was on a power play. After Slovenia got on the board, Marner made it 6-1 when he took a pass in front and then showed great patience before putting the puck into an open net.
Canada’s Nate Mackinnon, right, challenges Slovenia’s Sabahudin Kovacevic, left, during the Ice Hockey World Championships group B match between Canada and Slovenia in the AccorHotels Arena in Paris, France, Sunday, May 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)Jeff Skinner was credited with the seventh Canadian goal seven minutes into the third period after he tried to pass the puck to the point but it instead hit the stick of Ales Music and deflected in. That was another bad stroke of luck for Kroselj, who faced 44 shots. At the other end of the ice, Canadian goaltender Chad Johnson faced just 12 shots in his first world championship start.
Canada is now 4-0 all-time against Slovenia and has won 21 of its last 22 games at the world championships. Canada’s next game is Monday against Belarus.
Game 1 – May 5 – Canada vs Czech Republic
Canada began the IIHF Men’s Ice Hockey World Championship with a 4-1 victory over the Czech Republic on Friday.
Ryan O’Reilly of the Buffalo Sabres opened the scoring six minutes into the first period. After the puck was dumped behind the net, Mark Scheifele fed it out front to O’Reilly who poked it past Petr Mrazek from the slot. Canada went up 2-0 just under a minute into the second period with a power play goal, capitalizing on a Czech hooking penalty late in the first. Mike Matheson of the Florida Panthers received the pass from Jeff Skinner just inside the blue line and his wrist shot went through the screen, off Mrazek’s glove, and in.
The Czechs cut the lead in half with under eight minutes to play in the third period. While Alex Killorn was off serving two minutes for slashing, Lukas Radil was able to net a rebound past Canadian goalkeeper Calvin Pickard. But Canada got that one back just over two minutes later after Tyson Barrie of the Colorado Avalanche scored on a pass in front from Travis Konecny. In the final minute of play, Carolina Hurricane Jeff Skinner flipped a backhand over the Czech defence for an empty-netter, securing the victory. Pickard finished with 28 saves.
Canada is playing all of its preliminary round games in Paris, France while the semifinals and medal matches will take place in Cologne, Germany.
The next action for Team Canada will be early on Sunday morning for fans here at home as they take on Slovenia at 6:15am ET. Their schedule then plays out as follows:
Monday May 8 – 10:15am ET – vs Belarus
Thursday May 11 – 2:15pm ET – vs France
Saturday May 13 – 2:15pm ET – vs Switzerland
Monday May 15 – 10:15am ET – vs Norway
Tuesday May 16 – 2:15pm ET – vs Finland