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2024 wjc can fin dec 26

World Juniors Preview: Canada vs. Finland

Tuesday, December 26 | 8:30 a.m. ET | Gothenburg, Sweden | Preliminary Round

Nicholas Pescod
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December 25, 2023
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GAME NOTES: CANADA VS. FINLAND (DEC. 26)

Here we go. Canada’s National Junior Team kicks off its quest for a third-straight gold medal and 21st overall at the IIHF World Junior Championship with a Boxing Day matchup against Finland.

Last Game 

Canada is coming off an 6-5 pre-tournament overtime loss to the United States on Saturday in game that saw it erase a two-goal deficit in the third period. Macklin Celebrini scored twice and Owen Allard tied it midway through the final frame, while newcomer Jorian Donovan picked up an assist in his first game since joining Team Canada.

Finland is entering the World Juniors on a winning note after downing Czechia 4-1 on Thursday to finish off a perfect pre-tournament. Rasmus Kumpulainen, Arttu Kärki, Emil Hemming and Jani Nyman provided the offence for the Finns, who scored nine goals in their two exhibition contests.

Last Meeting 

Canada’s last meeting against the Finns was a pre-tournament game last year in Halifax. Connor Bedard scored twice, including the game-winner, and Brennan Othmann had a goal and assist, helping Canada to a 5-3 win.

The last time these two teams met during tournament play, however, was the gold medal game in August 2022. Canada won 3-2 in an overtime thriller that saw Kent Johnson score shortly after Mason McTavish saved the Canadians by swatting the puck out of mid-air before it crossed the goal line.


What to Watch
 

Macklin Celebrini, and rightfully so. The 17-year-old Vancouver native continues to be a threat every time he is on the ice. How good has he been? In three pre-tournament games, Celebrini put seven points (3-4—7), the most of any player. And let’s not forget the new guys. With Tristan Luneau and Tanner Molendyk ruled out, Donovan and Ty Nelson were officially added to the Canadian roster following the game against the Americans.

The Finns may not have Nashville Predators prospect Joakim Kemell available for his third World Juniors, but 11 players on the roster are NHL draftees. That number includes Seattle Kraken prospect Jani Nyman – the 19-year-old has netted 14 goals in 28 games for Ilves Tampere in the Liiga, Finland's top league, good for second among all active skaters.

A Look Back 

The Canadians and Finns have been frequent foes, facing off against each other 42 times at the World Juniors since 1977. Canada has the edge with a 27-9-6 (W-L-T) mark, but it has had trouble with Finland on Swedish ice – one-third of the Finns’ wins have come in the land of their Nordic neighbours.

The Canadians have won five of the last six meetings, including a 5-0 romp in the semifinals in 2020; Joel Hofer made 32 saves for the shutout, Alexis Lafrenière scored twice and Canada netted three goals in the first four minutes en route to the gold medal game and an eventual 18th World Juniors gold.

All-time record: Canada leads 26-9-6 (1-1 in OT)
Canada goals: 163
Finland goals: 105

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

emadziya@hockeycanada.ca 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

ssharkey@hockeycanada.ca

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

jknight@hockeycanada.ca

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