Canada beats host Finland to reach semifinals at World Cup of Hockey

Canada beats host Finland to reach semifinals at World Cup of Hockey

Canada clinched a semifinal berth at the World Cup of Hockey and also avenged a memorable loss to host Finland on Thursday.

Jack Quinn, Samuel Blais, Michael Carcone and Tyler Toffoli scored as Canada cruised to a 4-1 win at Nokia Arena. Teemu Hartikainen scored late in the third period for Finland, but Toffoli answered less than a minute later to ice the victory.

“We knew it was going to be a close game,” said Canadian goalkeeper Samuel Montembeault, who made 27 saves. “But the big third goal for us took the weight off our shoulders.”

Carcone made it 3-0 at 2:54 of the third period after Quinn and Blais staked Canada to an early lead.

Hartikainen finally gave the home crowd something to cheer about when he tallied with 3:07 left to play, but Toffoli scored an empty net goal with 2:18 left.

“This is a great group,” Montembeault said. “Our goal in this tournament was to win a gold medal and we knew we had to work hard tonight to beat Finland in front of their fans.

“We are one step closer to our goal and now we are looking forward to the semi-finals.”

Emil Larmi made 27 saves for Finland.

“We tried to play with speed on the forecheck to disrupt the Finns’ timing,” said Canadian head coach Andre Tourigny. “They are so strong on the puck, they are heavy and protect the puck well.

“We wanted to be really aggressive when they had the puck and take possession away from them as quickly as possible.”

Finland defeated Canada 4-3 in overtime to win gold last May. It was the third time in a row that the two sides played for gold at this event.

Canada will next play Latvia, a surprise 3-1 winner over perennial rival Sweden.

“We’ve played well defensively and blocked a lot of shots, and we need to continue that,” Blais said. “We have a great goalkeeper in whom we have a lot of confidence and we will bring our best game against Latvia.”

The USA will face Germany in Saturday’s other semifinal. Medal matches are scheduled for Sunday.

Finland beat Canada in 2019, but Canada won the rematch two years later. The 2020 tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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