Canada tops Finland for World Championships gold
Moscow — Canada defeated previously unbeaten Finland 2-0 in the gold medal game at the world ice hockey championship on Sunday.
Connor McDavid teamed up with Matt Duchene to score midway through the first period, cutting in from the right and flicking the puck over Finnish goaltender Mikko Koskinen’s stick.
It was McDavid’s first goal of the tournament, coming in his 10th appearance, but last year’s No. 1 NHL draft pick had been playing a team-oriented game, racking up eight assists in that time.
With Russian President Vladimir Putin among the spectators, Duchene put the puck in the empty Finnish net in the final second of the game.
Canada goaltender Cam Talbot made 16 saves for the shutout.
“We didn’t really feed into their transition and didn’t really give them any chance to get anything going off the rush or the end zone,” McDavid said. “Anything that we did give up, (Talbot) was amazing.”
McDavid said his goal was just the result of “a lucky bounce.”
Canada won its 26th title — one short of the combined Soviet and Russian record — and is the first team to retain the championship since Russia in 2009.
Canadian captain Corey Perry becomes the 27th member of the “triple gold club,” players who have won the world championship, Olympic gold medal and Stanley Cup. He is the 10th Canadian. At age 19, McDavid is the youngest player to win the world championship, world juniors and under-18 worlds.
After having lost 4-0 to Finland in the preliminary round, Canada was resolved to reduce its turnovers in the rematch with the Finns.
“We used our speed more, we came up with numbers, we made sure we got it deep and we played them in the O-zone,” Duchene said. “You get that one (goal) early and make them play from behind, it’s a different game.”
The Canadians controlled the puck well, shutting down creative forwards such as 18-year-old Patrik Laine, who was named tournament MVP with seven goals and five assists.
“That kid is gonna be great, great future, that’s for sure,” Finland coach Kari Jalonen said. “I think he grew up in these 2 1/2 weeks a lot as a player. He proved that he can play at this level already at that age.”
The result was a lopsided shooting statistic, with Canada racking up 33 shots against 16 for the Finns, whose goaltender Koskinen was a strong presence to stop Canada extending its lead.
“Right now, it’s just a disappointment,” Finnish forward Jussi Jokinen said. “We played probably one of our worst games of the tournament and they played great. We weren’t able to create much.”
Earlier, Russia routed the United States 7-2 to win the bronze medal.
Russia was in full control of the game, taking a 4-0 lead in the second period before countering any hopes of an American fightback.
Artemi Panarin, who finished with a goal and two assists, said Russia had played with more freedom after a weight of expectation was lifted following its semifinal defeat to Finland on Saturday.
“I think we just relaxed today,” Calder Trophy finalist Panarin said. “Until now … the pressure was serious.”
Russian forward Sergei Mozyakin scored two goals, with captain Pavel Datsyuk registering three assists. The U.S. led 30-29 in shots, but Russian goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky produced some impressive saves to protect the lead.
Frank Vatrano scored both goals for the U.S.
“This one stings. Obviously, you don’t like to go out on a losing note,” U.S. forward Nick Foligno said. “They just played off their emotion and their power and we didn’t really have an answer.”
Russian forward Vadim Shipachyov of CSKA Moscow scored one goal and one assist in the bronze medal game as he finished the tournament’s top scorer on 18 points, while Laine and Sweden’s Gustav Nyquist were the top goal scorers with seven each.
Bronze is still a disappointment for a Russian team that had hoped to reach the gold medal game on home ice.
“We can’t win (the world championship) every year. In the last three years we have been champions, second place,” forward Alex Ovechkin said. “It’s better to win a medal than not.”
The young U.S. team, featuring six college players, missed out on the chance to win bronze for the third time in four years.