Joshua Roy opened the scoring, William Dufour added a second-period insurance scorer to give Canada a 2-0 lead in the 2022 World Juniors gold medal game. Then Finland came back in force in the third period, with goals from Aleksi Heimosalmi and Joakim Kemell to tie the game at 2-2.
Kent Johnson scored the winner in overtime as Canada defeated Finland 3-2 to claim the gold medal.
Here are five takeaways from Canada’s gold medal win.
Canada finally faced their first real test of the tournament and nearly drowned
This whole tournament has been a cakewalk for Team Canada, boasting plenty of NHL prospects on their roster, as well as 2023 class gem Connor Bedard, who already looks like he could play in the league. But after shining throughout the tournament without a challenge, Canada nearly drowned in their first test.
Taking a 2-0 lead in the third period, it looked like smooth sailing for Canada, but the hosts became complacent and a desperate Finnish side pounced. Aleksi Heimosalmi got a shot into traffic, beating Dylan Garand cleanly, and it was a one-goal game. And with Canada on the ropes, Joakim Kemell tied the game at 2-2. Finland took a 30-29 shot advantage in the overtime period, and if it weren’t for some quick thinking from Mason McTavish (more on him below), the Canadians would be staring at the ground with the resounding Finnish anthem. .
History will not remember it, but Canada should feel a bit lucky to be champions.
Kent Johnson joins long list of tournament greats with OT winner
It had been kind of a cruel tournament for Kent Johnson, before the semi-final. Johnson led all players in shots, lunge attempts and a handful of other advanced categories, but had just one goal to his name heading into Friday’s game against Czechia. Johnson beat Michigan in the round robin for his only scoresheet contribution, but he took his game to a new level on Friday with a goal and two assists. And now he will be part of the TSN Tournament fixture forever after clinching the overtime winner on Saturday.
Matt Halischuk, Jonathan Toews, Jordan Eberle and Akil Thomas all live on in the memory of many Canadians for their timely goals in the final, and Johnson will join that company, commemorated for a key overtime winner in a dramatic final against Finland .
Power play disparity killed Finland in gold medal game
Finland came into Saturday’s competition with an impressive 53.9% power play. No, that’s not a typo, Finland really scored on 14 out of 26 power-play opportunities throughout the tournament, raising a forward corps that pretty much relied on Joakim Kemell, Aatu Raty and Roni Hirvonen exclusively for their offensive production.
Unfortunately, Finland couldn’t take a life-saving penalty in the gold medal game and were often on the back foot, as Canada got five power play chances. It wasn’t until Olen Zellweger hit an opponent on a breakaway that Finland were given an abbreviated power play attempt. It lasted four seconds, after Kasper Puutio dangerously headed Zack Ostapchuk into the boards with 4:39 remaining, drawing a two-minute minor for boarding and nullifying the power play.
Canada didn’t even have to fend off the Finns’ deadly power play in the final, and one can only think that would have made up for the talent gap on Saturday. It’s not quite an indictment of the official, but in an event that pretty much functioned as a revenue stream for Hockey Canada, one can look at the scorecard from the sidelines.
Mason McTavish completed one of the best individual tournaments in Canadian history
Mason McTavish will definitely be in the NHL next year, and at times he looked too good for this summer edition of the World Juniors, with a number of players choosing to prepare for camps professional training. He was the tournament’s best player from the moment he took the ice, and by finishing with 16 points, McTavish not only led the World Juniors in points, he was the fourth best display of a unique tournament by a Canadian, ever.
McTavish also had the best defensive play of the tournament, sliding a puck over the goal line early in overtime to keep the competition alive.
Where will McTavish be remembered among tournament greats? It’s hard to say, given the shrinking talent pool this summer, as well as the fact that many people have pulled out of the tournament altogether. As a stand-alone performance, it’s rarely better than McTavish’s in 2022.
Time to continue investigating Hockey Canada’s action plan following sexual assault scandal
Before the tournament started, I wrote about how absurd it was to cover the tournament without criticizing Hockey Canada. In the event, the IIHF held what amounted to its state of union and Hockey Canada was not invited to the event, said IIHF President Luc Tardif. journalists.
“We followed what was happening. It’s a national affair and it’s not good for ice hockey. I’m glad the investigation is reopened. When we know the facts and the people involved, we will take our responsibilities but only after the official investigation,” Tardif said.
“The most important thing is the investigation by the police and the justice system. Hockey Canada will have to give us the same level of information as the hearing panel. We met with the chairman of the board and had good discussions about the process. We will then refer to the IIHF Ethics Committee to analyze how Hockey Canada handled this case, if it was in accordance with our statutes and regulations.
Hockey Canada is currently undergoing its own governance review by former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Thomas Cromwell, who is expected to make recommendations at the annual board meeting in November. That doesn’t mean we have to wait until November to continue to pressure Hockey Canada on how it plans to implement its action plan, which has met with resounding skepticism from reporters, fans and survivors of sexual assault. Here is a reminder to hold the governing body accountable.
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