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Canada crushes Finland to take Bronze
While Team Canada's goal was to take home a Gold Medal from 2012 World Junior Championship, they were not about to let a Bronze Medal slip through their fingers. Coming off a heart-breaking loss to Russia in Tuesday's semi-final, Canada rebounded nicely in defeating Team Finland by a score of 4-0 and claiming third place at this year's tournament.
Edmonton - January 6, 2012 - While Team Canada's goal was to take home a Gold Medal from 2012 World Junior Championship, they were not about to let a Bronze Medal slip through their fingers. Coming off a heart-breaking 6-5 loss to Russia in Tuesday's semi-final, Canada rebounded nicely in defeating Team Finland by a score of 4-0 and claiming third place at this year's tournament. Canada finished with a 5-1 mark at the championship, while outscoring their opponents by a score of 35 - 11.
In what many thought might be an underwhelming performance from Team Canada, the home side came out with a purpose to their game and Finland could do little to slow down the powerful Canadian side. If not for the stellar play of Finnish goaltender Sami Aittokallio and his forty save performance, this one could have been just as ugly as the tournament opening 8-1 thrashing that Finland received from Team Canada.
Canada would open the scoring at the 9:08 mark of the first, when Tanner Pearson deflected home a slap pass from Mark Scheifele, past Aittokallio to give Canada the early lead. The two Barrie Colts teammates would click once more, to put Canada up by a pair early in the second period.
Pearson would knock down an attempted clearing pass at the Finland blueline and after gaining possession of the puck deep in the Finland zone, he would find a hard charging Scheifele with a nice pass and the Winnipeg Jet prospect made no mistake, putting Canada up 2-0.
With just over two minutes to play in the second, Canada's Mark Visentin was called for throwing his stick after a mad scramble in front of the team Canada goal. While the Visentin seemed to just drop his stick rather than throw it, the call was what it was and the Finns were awarded a penalty shot. Miro Hovinen took the penalty shot for the visitors but Visentin was up to the task making a nice pad save and promptly swatted the puck into the corner after making the stop. Canada would respond to their netminders big save and would go up 3-0 when Quinton Howden slipped a rebound into the Finnish net with thirty seconds to play in the middle frame. The goal was Canada's second power play marker of the afternoon and things were looking up for Team Canada.
Heading into the third, there was little left to decide. It was just a matter of how many Canada would win by and if Visentin could hold on for the shutout. Early in the period, the Canadian netminder had a strange bounce to deal with in his crease and recovered to make an unorthodox looking glove save with his back to the play. It was a save that TSN's Ray Ferraro simply described as "remarkable". It's much too hard to put the save into words, so have a look and see what you think.
Canada would close out the scoring with just over two minutes to play, when Howden finished a pretty three way passing play into a yawning Finnish net, for his second of the night. Visentin ended up making 27 saves in earning the shutout and Team Canada managed to send their fans home on a winning note.
While it wasn't the medal these players were hoping for heading into the 2012 World Junior Championship, the experience itself will be something these youngsters will remember for the rest of their lives. Congrats to all of you for playing your hearts out for this country...you did us all proud.
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