Rookie impressive as Canada finishes preliminary round with 5-2 win over Finland
Mitch Marner’s hockey sense has won him a few admirers early in his hockey career. You can add Canada head coach Jon Cooper to that list.
Marner scored twice on Tuesday and Canada’s power play continued to roll as it finished its preliminary round at the world hockey championship with a 5-2 win over Finland.
The Canadians scored early and often, with Marner notching his third and fourth goals of the tournament in an opening period where Canada outshot the Finns 15-6.
“He oozes with confidence and hockey sense and skill,” Cooper of the 20-year-old, who was named Canada’s player of the game. “You give him the puck in the open ice and you sit there and think he’s got one of three options, then he invents option four, five and six. It’s impressive to watch him play.”
Colton Parayko, Brayden Point and Matt Duchene also scored for Canada.
Marner opened the scoring 2:46 into the game off an impressive toe-drag after a feed from Point. Jani Lajunen replied for the Finns to even the score at 1-1 just 22 seconds later.
The Canadian power play then went to work, with Marner setting up Parayko for his third goal of the tournament before scoring his second of the game to give Canada a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes.
Canada finished the preliminary round with 12 power-play goals on 25 attempts, second in efficiency behind Russia (13for-24).
The pace slowed in the middle frame as the teams traded goals. Point fired a rebound off the end boards past Finnish goalie Harri Sateri to extend Canada’s lead to 4-1 before Atte Ohtamaa beat Calvin Pickard with a slap shot from top of the left circle to give the largely pro-Finland crowd of 10,202 fan at AccorHotels Arena something to cheer about with 3:09 to play in the second.
Duchene extended the lead to 5-2 with his first goal of the tournament on a breakaway 34 seconds into the third.
Final shots on goal were 28-20 in favour of Canada.
With the win, Canada finishes the preliminary round with a tournament-best 19 points and a 6-0-0-1 record. The Canadians will play co-host Germany in the quarter-finals in Cologne on Thursday. Germany claimed the last playoff spot in the group with a 4-3 shootout win over Latvia.
“I know that they know how to come back from a deficit in the last minute,” said Cooper when asked what the Canadian coaching staff knew about its next opponent. “It’s going be a tough test for us. The environment should be pretty electric.”
“It will be a tough game in their building, with the home crowd and everything,” added forward Sean Couturier. “Whatever’s up in front of us, we’ll be up to the challenge.”
The other quarter-finals see the United States face Finland, Russia take on the Czech Republic and Switzerland play Sweden.
Canada’s Mitch Marner, centre, celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal with teammates Brayden Point, right, Marc-Edouard Vlasic during the Ice Hockey World Championships group B match between Canada and Finland in the AccorHotels Arena in Paris, France, Tuesday.