After scoring 29 goals since the start of the World Junior Hockey Championship and conceding just three, Canada will face the first real test of the tournament on Thursday night, with Finland facing the game. First place in Group A.
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Finns joined Slovakia 6-0 on Wednesday afternoon to join Canada, winning three of their three games in regular time.
The match was timely, the national team could eventually compete with a team capable of standing up to it, and for hockey fans the scenario has not been very exciting so far.
“In the last few games, we’ve been setting the pace and our opponents are withdrawing and defending themselves,” said Canadian forward Cole Perfetti. It will be a war against Finland, which has a talented team. It is good for us to be ready for the medal round. This allows us to make some adjustments in our defensive game that we have not really been able to work on in the last few games. “
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The Finns have not dominated their first three games as well as Canada, but they still have 15 goals and only four.
“It simply came to our notice then. Finland has been a developing country for a few years and we know it is a difficult game. They want to finish like us first, ”added Dylan Cogens.
One thing is for sure, Thursday evening the tournament will not be won, not for Canada or Finland. For head coach Andre Tourigni, improving is very important, something his team has done in their first three games, he said.
“I would be disappointed if our players were satisfied,” he said after Wednesday’s 10-0 win over Switzerland. They can be happy, but not satisfied because even though we have played 80 games, we still want to improve. This is the attitude I expect from our players. I’m happy with the performance: we want to be at this stage of the competition, but it’s not enough to win this tournament. “
Cogenes in Confidence
In fact, Cogens was second in the tournament scorers with nine points from three games, one behind United States forward Trevor Zegras.
With 18 career points in the World Juniors – he had nine points from seven games last year – he is the tenth highest scorer in ECJ history. The record for 31 of 21 games belongs to Eric Lindros.
“Although I think I had a good tournament last year, I think it’s pretty much a matter of confidence. I improved my game overall. I move the puck well and I’m confident when I enter the zone. I try to create chances to score. I’m strong and fast .I’m happy with the results of the work done in the off – season. ”
Confident Finns against Canadians
The Finns have no plans to have any complexes with Canada’s dangerous machine on Thursday night.
“It’s a good team and it’s a big challenge for us, but we also have a very good team,” said assistant coach Auntie Mietinen. Canada is well managed and plays well as a team so we expect a tough fighting game. “
Same story with striker Brad Lambert.
“This is our biggest game of the tournament. Like other meetings we have to approach it and everyone has to be ready. There is an incredible team in Canada and they play very well. However, if we play our best, we can beat her.”
Attention to LUNDELL
The ECJ should keep an eye on Finland captain Anton Lundel, who finished fourth in the tournament scorers on Wednesday with six points from three games.
He has been the best player on his team since the competition started.
Last year, some questioned his attacking ability during his draft season, which prevented the Florida Panthers from electing him for 12 years.E Total.
Before leaving for the World Juniors, the 18-year-old had 20 points from 17 league games with HIFK Helsinki.
Lundell did not listen to criticism leveled at him last year.
“Apparently I ‘ve heard these criticisms on myself. However, it’s not something that annoys me.
Lundel has been playing in the Finnish top line with Caspar Simontival and Ronnie Hirvonen since the tournament began and the unit has so far paid for coach Auntie Pennonen.
In addition to Lundel’s six points, Simontival had five (two goals and three assists), while Hirvonen had four assists.
“They’re good players,” Pennan replied when asked about the reasons behind the trio’s influence. They play well together and all three have good skills. I will describe their success. “
Defender Top Nimela also had a good offensive tournament. Like Lundel, he scored six points in three games.