After falling to Finland 5-1 in the semifinals a year ago, Team Canada exacted revenge on their Finnish rivals, soundly defeating them 4-1 Monday night.
Easily the toughest game for Canada so far in the tournament, the bout began with a quickness that never let up. Anthony Duclair almost scored 20 seconds in, followed by a glorious opportunity by Team Finland at the opposite end of the rink.
But despite their swift start, the Finns could not match the skill and speed of Canada’s “Du-Re-Mi” line through 60 minutes. Duclair had a goal and an assist, Sam Reinhart scored twice, and Max Domi added two assists to lead Canada to a perfect 3-0-0-0 record to open the tournament.
Domi now has five points in three games, but his contributions go beyond the score sheet. His energy and charisma are helping to fuel the fire, and his teammates – and the country – are noticing.
“He is winning over the fans and the country right now,” said Canada captain Curtis Lazar. “It is awesome to watch. We feed off his energy and his excitement. He is a skill guy but he is willing to sacrifice that bit for the team.”
As the offense continued to pour on from both sides, Domi went a step further and sacrificed the body more than once to secure the win. As he stumbled to the bench, 15,718 fans cheered for his efforts.
“(The fans) were huge,” Domi said. “Sixth or seventh man, whatever you want to call it. We probably would not have been able to keep up the pace without them. It was a lot of fun to be part of. There are a couple of bruises, but they feel good.”
Canada was outperformed in the faceoff circle 24 to 23, but still managed to power through and outshoot the opposition 36-28. Zach Fucale made 27 saves, and is expected to start between the pipes tomorrow against Team USA (2-0-1-0) at 4 p.m..
The Canadians went 158 minutes and 26 seconds without giving up a goal, but nothing lasts forever; just ask Team Finland, who has yet to win a game since earning gold a year ago “We couldn’t expect to not give up a goal,” Fucale said. “That’s hockey. I will look at it on tape and go from there.”
Canada has nine points entering their final preliminary game, and the winner will determine the top seed in group A heading into the medal rounds. “It’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Lazar. “It’s a New Year’s Eve tradition now, two good teams going at it. Hopefully we’re up to the task.”