< /p> Canadian ice hockey player Jack Quinn (left) scores the opening goal in the World Cup quarter-final match against Finland, May 25, 2023.
Tampere, Finland – Replay of last year's battle for gold Canada's ice hockey players did better in the quarterfinals of the World Cup. Defending champions Finland were beaten 4:1 in Tampere and will challenge the team of the other host country, Latvia, in the semi-finals, which eliminated Sweden after a 3:1 win.
The Canadians scored in each period and had a three-goal lead early in the third period. Jack Quinn, Samuel Blais and Michael Carcone were among the scorers. The goalkeeper of the winners Samuel Montembeault only conceded in the home team's game without a goalkeeper in the 57th minute, when he was denied by Teemu Hartikainen, and the progress of the overseas team was secured by captain Tyler Toffoli.
“It is very difficult when you lose in quarterfinals. Their goalie was overpowering. We had a few good chances, but he made some really excellent and important saves,” Hartikainen praised Montembeault, who had 27 saves, in an interview with the International Ice Hockey Federation's website.
In the fourth minute, Myers committed a foul against the rules, but the Northerners did not use the offered opportunity to take the lead. Kakko tested Montembeault's attention, but did not move the state.
On the contrary, the Canadians succeeded. In the eighth minute, Crouse cleverly sent a pass to block Quinn, who was not stopped by the defending Ohtamaa and the Finnish goalkeeper Larmi conceded for the first time. Moments later, the productive Canadian fullback Weegar could have raised the ball, but Larmi was against it.
The Canadians had another great opportunity in the middle of the match when the youngster Fantilli drove at Larmi himself from an angle, but he did not surprise him by finishing between the concretes. The Canadians did not have to be sorry for long. Just a minute later, Blais hooked under the crossbar after a two-to-one count.
The Finns had unique opportunities to reduce the deficit even before the second break. First, he failed to complete the backhand end of Kakko's solo escape, and then he failed in the mini-duel facing Montembeault and Kapanen.
“We took advantage of turnovers, we have a lot of skill players to do that. They deserve a lot of credit for how they were able to convert those chances. It was just about defending hard and taking advantage of our opportunities,” defender MacKenzie Weegar said.
The Finns' enthusiasm and effort to get back into the match was frozen in the 43rd minute by Carcone, who ended the good interplay of the Canadians, who completely dismantled the home team and thus came significantly closer to advancing to the medal fights.
“If we had scored one or two goals in the second period, we would have believed much more that we could turn the game around. But when you go into the third period with a 0:2 deficit and you concede again right from the edge, the road to success is already very long.” said Hartikainen.
The Nordics were forced to open up the game a lot, and it wasn't long before Toffoli caught them on one of the Canadian counterattacks. Although the Finns continued to try to find a way to get the puck behind Montembeault's back, it was all in vain for a long time.
Three and a half minutes before the end, they called off the goalkeeper and soon celebrated a goal of hope, when Montembeault was denied a clean sheet by the strong Hartikainen, who managed to pass the puck over the line through a gap at the near post with a repeated stop. But just 50 seconds later, he hit an empty net to Toffoli.
“I feel like we've taken on a bit of an underdog role this year. Everyone's excited now, everyone's playing and contributing to the success. We're rotating all the time four formations, everyone has space and that's what gives us a huge portion of energy,” stated Toffoli.
“I think we played the first two periods really well. We created a lot of scoring opportunities, but the opponent did better in this regard because they were able to convert them. In the third period, the Canadians already defended well and didn't let us have many chances.” said experienced Finnish defender Atte Ohtaama.
World Hockey Championship – quarter-finals (Tampere):
Finland – Canada 1:4 (0: 1, 0:1, 1:2)
Goals and assists: 57. Hartikainen (Rantanen, M. Lehtonen) – 8. J. Quinn (Crouse), 31. Blais (Neighbors , Barron), 43. Carcone (Weegar, Middleton), 58. Toffoli. Referees: Holm (Swedish), Hribik – Hynek (both Czech Republic), Briganti (USA). Exclusion: 1:4. No use. Spectators: 11,529.
Finland: Larmi – Ohtamaa, M. Lehtonen, Koivisto, Määttä, Pokka, Seppälä, Matinpalo, Friman – Rantanen , Manninen, Hartikainen – Kapanen, Suomela, Kakko – Armia, Lammikko, Pesonen – Anttila, Björninen, Oksanen. Coach: J. Jalonen.
Canada: Montembeault – Weegar, Middleton, Hunt, Bear, Joseph, Myers, Barron – Fantilli, Glass, Lucic – J. Quinn, Laughton, Crouse – Blais, Krebs, Neighbors – Toffoli, McBain, Carcone. Coach: Tourigny.