Canadian juniors ready for challenge of Finland
This has been the most trying experience of Jake Virtanen's career and he couldn't be happier.
Virtanen is one of four players returning from Canada's gold medal-winning junior team that won the world championship in Toronto last year. This year's team has struggled in the preliminary round of the tournament and on Saturday will face the heavily favoured host Finland in the quarter-finals.
“I think this is the most adversity I've ever had,” said Virtanen who hasn't earned a point in four games.
“It's pretty exciting, when you're the first time getting into a big adversity moment for yourself. As a team, it's pretty special.”
Finland poses a particularly steep challenge. Forwards Jesse Puljujarvi, Sebastian Aho and Patrik Laine are the tournament's top three scorers, leading Finland to a 3-1 record to finish second in Group B.
“They've got a really good team over there, we know that,” said Canadian forward Mitch Marner after practice on Friday.