Canada’s Thomas Harley (5) and Dylan Cozens (22) celebrate a goal during first period IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship action against Finland, in Edmonton, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Canada’s Thomas Harley (5) and Dylan Cozens (22) celebrate a goal during first period IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship action against Finland, in Edmonton, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Canada tops pool at world junior hockey championship with dominant 4-1 win over Finland

Canadians play Czech Republic in quarter-final action Saturday

Canada clinched first place in its pool and a quarterfinal matchup against the Czech Republic with a 4-1 win over Finland at the world junior hockey championship in Edmonton Thursday.

Dylan Cozens scored twice, including an empty-net goal, for a Canadian team that went undefeated in four games in the preliminary round. Dylan Holloway and Peyton Krebs also scored for the host country. Canadian goaltender Devon Levi stopped 18-of-19 shots for his fourth win of the tournament.

Brad Lambert scored for Finland (3-1).

Karri Piiroinen, who played for the Ontario Hockey League’s Windsor Spitfires last season, had 36 saves in the loss.

The top four teams in each pool advance to the quarter-finals, where Canada will play the Czechs, the No. 4 seed in Pool B, on Saturday. Finland’s opponent will be decided by the outcome of Sweden versus the United States later Thursday.

With a 2-1-0-1 record (wins, overtime wins, overtime losses, losses) Russia will finish no worse than second in Pool B. Pool A third-seed Germany (1-1-0-2) and No. 4 Slovakia (1-0-1-2) also awaited the end of Pool B play to know their quarterfinal opponents. The semifinals are Monday followed by Tuesday’s medal games at Rogers Place.

Canada and Finland cruised through the preliminary round with three straight wins apiece and outscored their opposition a combined 44-7.

At stake Thursday was not only the top seed in the pool, but also avoiding a tougher quarterfinal opponent.

Canada dominated puck possession, scoring three unanswered goals over two periods before the Finns replied in the third. Canada’s relentless forecheck hemmed the Finns in their own zone for long stretches over the first 40 minutes. A glaring gap in Canada’s game, however, was an 0-for-5 power play.

READ MORE: Canada hammers Switzerland 10-0 to stay unbeaten at world junior hockey tourney

The Finns pulled Piiroinen for an extra attacker with over two minutes to play in regulation. Cozens battled for the puck on Canada’s blue line and in the neutral zone to get a shot away for an empty-netter.

Lambert, a Finn with a Canadian father, scored at 5:05 of the third period on his team’s lone power-play chance of the game. Lambert’s shot deflected off the stick of Canadian defenceman Thomas Harley and by Levi’s glove. Krebs collected his third goal of the tournament shovelling a backhand between his legs and under Piiroinen at 12:58 of the second period.

Canada led 2-0 at 6:54 when Jakob Pelletier’s shot from the slot deflected off Holloway’s leg and under Pirroinen’s pads.

Finland lost defenceman Ville Heinola in the third period when the Winnipeg Jets draft pick blocked a shot with his hand and went to the dressing room. Canada’s Alex Newhook also left the game and didn’t return. The forward was checked hard by Eemil Viro in the first period and suffered what looked like a shoulder injury.

It was all Canada in the opening period with hard pace and pressure in Finland’s zone and a 17-1 margin in shots, but just a one-goal lead heading into the second. The Finns held Canada scoreless on a pair of power-play chances in the first.

Cozens, a Buffalo Sabres prospect, scored at 3:49 after forcing a turnover on Canada’s blue line. Canada’s co-captain skated the puck into the zone on an odd-man rush with Connor McMichael and beat Piironen’s blocker with a snapshot. Either Canada or Finland has won gold in six of the last seven world junior tournaments.

Finland claimed the title two years ago in Vancouver, where Canada fell to the Finns 2-1 in overtime in a quarterfinal. Canada blanked Finland 5-0 in a 2020 semifinal en route to gold in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Switzerland and Austria went winless in the tournament to finish outside the quarterfinals. The two countries won’t play a relegation round. The second-tier world junior championship was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so no country earned promotion.

Switzerland and Austria will be in the field again at the 2022 world junior tournament in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta.

THE CANADIAN PRESS

To sign up for the latest news, sports and entertainment headlines, click here.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

hockeyIIHF world junior hockey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Crews work on construction of the new composting facility at the Campbell River landfill. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Environment group wishes Comox Strathcona compost site was in a better spot

Province has guidelines on siting, but they are not legal requirements

COVID-19 virus (file photo).
COVID-19 exposures reported for two Campbell River schools

Campbell River Christian School and Ecole des Deux Mondes are the schools involved

The seasonal Search and Rescue program will run between May to September. ( File photo/Canadian Coast Guard)
Coast Guard Inshore Rescue Program starting up next week

Teams have protocols in place to ensure COVID-19 safety

Jacob Koomen takes his bike out for a spin near his home in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Campbell Riverite to cycle length of Island to raise funds for cancer research

Long distance rides are no big deal for 73-year-old cyclist

The City of Campbell River will explore whether organic shoreline nutrification can be a part of its flood mitigation and shoreline restoration work after a presentation received at a recent council meeting showing its benefits. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
City of Campbell River to look at whether forestry waste could be used for shoreline improvements

‘Organic shoreline nutrification’ could see more areas of the beach become more accessible

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

A scene from the Schoolhouse Squat from October 2018, where Alliance Against Displacement members and supporters occupied the Rutherford Elementary School site, advocating for people experiencing homelessness. (News Bulletin file)
‘Schoolhouse Squat’ activists get conditional discharge in Nanaimo school occupation

Ivan Donald Drury, Tingchun (Listen) Chen sentenced in provincial court in Nanaimo

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to media in Port Alberni on Aug. 16, 2020, during a visit from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh following the police shooting of Chantel Moore. (Elena Rardon photo)
Mother of 2 shot by police in critical condition, says B.C. First Nation chief

Community ‘devastated’ by third member of 1,150-person Vancouver Island nation shot in less than a year

Most Read