Canada is back in the final for the fourth time in five years, while Finland will advance after shutting out one of the best Russian teams in in the post-Soviet era.
|JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images
Canada dominant in game against Czechs
Canada will play for gold for the fourth time in five years after defeating the Czech Republic 5-1 in Saturday’s semifinal.
Mark Stone, fresh off of a three-point night Thursday against Switzerland, kicked off the scoring with a goal just past the five-minute mark, knocking in a pass from Troy Stecher. It was Stone’s eighth goal of the tournament, good to give him the tournament lead. Just 10 seconds into the middle stanza, defenseman Darnell Nurse made it 2-0 with a wraparound goal, catching Czech goaltender Patrik Bartosak by surprise. A goal by Pierre-Luc Dubois before the fifth minute of the second ended Bartosak’s night, as Pavel Francouz entered the contest in relief. Tomas Zohorna had one late for the Czechs, but goals from Kyle Turris and Thomas Chabot helped to secure Canada’s victory.
Due to Russia’s loss earlier in the day, Canada will remain first in the IIHF’s rankings for another year.
Finns shock Russia with valiant semifinal effort
Russia has lost only one game at the World Championship, but it was an ill-timed defeat that has knocked them out of gold-medal contention.
For the third time in four years, Finland and Russia met in the final four, but unfortunately for the Russians, it was a repeat of the 2016 semifinal game as Finland held on for the 1-0 victory and advanced to the final.
The first 40 minutes were as close as it gets. The Finns held a 23-22 shot advantage, but the best opportunity for either team came early in the first period when Russian netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy made an incredible stretched-out right pad stop on Kaapo Kakko to keep the score even at zeroes.
The scoreless contest was unchartered territory for the Russians. Prior to the semifinal, the Group B champions had only failed to score in four periods throughout the tournament, but they’d remain without a tally through all three frames of Saturday’s semifinal. Finland’s Marko Anttila scored the lone goal with less than 10 minutes remaining in the final period to secure the win, while Chicago Blackhawks prospect Kevin Lankinen was outstanding, stopping 32 shots for the shutout.
The Finns’ upset victory was especially remarkable as their group, which was without even a single NHL talent, defeated a Russian team that was one of the strongest teams in recent IIHF history and featured Alex Ovechkin, Nikita Kucherov, Evgeni Malkin and Vasilevskiy, among others. The Finns will look to get revenge on Canada for the 2016 gold-medal game. Finland beat the Canadians in the opening game of the 2019 tournament.
- Kevin Lankinen (Finland): A 32-save shutout against the best team in the tournament was the story as Finland took a surprising victory.
- Marko Anttila (Finland): After a quiet round robin, the 6-foot-8 monster has two consecutive game-winning goals.
- Mark Stone (Canada): Yet another winning marker for the Vegas Golden Knights star.
Sunday, May 26
Russia vs. Czech Republic, Bronze-medal game, 9:45 AM ET
Canada vs. Finland, Gold-medal game, 2:15 PM ET
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