Canada and Finland will meet for the gold medal Sunday at the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Bratislava, Slovakia.
The Canadians cruised to a 5-1 semifinal victory Saturday against the Czech Republic. Meanwhile, Finland posted a 1-0 win over Russia.
It is a rematch of the 2016 final in Moscow, where Canada beat Finland 2-0 to win its 26th gold medal. The Finns are seeking their third gold, and first since 2011.
It is also a rematch of Canada’s first game at this tournament, a 3-1 loss to Finland on May 10.
Russia and the Czech Republic will face off in Sunday’s bronze-medal game.
Celebrating his 25th birthday, goaltender Matt Murray stopped 40 of 41 shots to lead Canada against the Czechs.
Canada opened the scoring at 5:18 of the first period when Mark Stone beat goalie Patrik Bartosak, deflecting the puck just inside the post. It was the tournament-leading eighth goal for Stone.
Darnell Nurse scored 10 seconds into the second period and Pierre-Luc Dubois made it 3-0 just five minutes later, bringing an end to Bartosak’s day.
The lead swelled to 5-0 on third-period goals by Kyle Turris and Thomas Chabot before the Czechs finally dented Murray. Chabot bobbled a pass at his blue line and Tomas Zohorna picked it up and skated in alone, beating Murray with a high shot with 6:01 left to play.
Finland’s Marko Anttila scored the only goal of the other semifinal with 9:42 left in the third period to stun the Russians, 1-0.
Anttila corralled the loose puck after Henri Jokiharju’s shot ricocheted off defenseman Nikita Zaitsev, then fired it through goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy’s legs.
“He took a stick in the face and came back and scored the game-winning goal,” said Finnish goalie Kevin Lankinen, who stopped 32 shots in his second shutout of the tournament. “That shows a lot of character.”
Russia pulled Vasilevskiy with two minutes to go, but Lankinen held his ground and made a fine blocker save late against Nikita Kucherov.
“We couldn’t score and then we allowed a soft goal at the other end,” Russian defenseman Mikhail Sergachyov said. “They got a lucky bounce. That was the difference. We have to give them their due: They defended well against our forwards. They didn’t give us anything.”
–Field Level Media
Categories: National Hockey League