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Finland looks forward after 8-1 loss to Canada

Monday, 12.26.2011 / 8:14 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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Finland looks forward after 8-1 loss to Canada


EDMONTON - Put it behind you.

That was the attitude of Finnish players and head coach Raimo Helminen after they suffered a humbling 8-1 loss to Canada in the opening game of the world junior hockey championship on Monday.

"We have to forget it and move on," said defenceman Jani Hakanpaa, who was on the ice for just one of Canada's goals. "A lot of things went the wrong way today. We have to learn from this and go forward. It's only the first game of the tournament. We have to get better every game."

Helminen said the team would just throw out the result and their performance. "It is only the first game."

It was a game the Finns weren't ready to start and by the time they got settled in, Canada had a 2-0 lead. Even though Finland made a bit of a comeback, its fate was pretty much sealed early.

"We were unprepared to play," said Helminen. "We were not ready physically, or mentally, at the start for the kind of hockey that team is going to play."

Finland fell behind 2-0 in the game's first five minutes when Canada scored on two of its first five shots.

"The game didn't go as well as I hoped it would," admitted goaltender Christopher Gibson, who plays for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Chicoutimi Sagueneens. "But it's a great experience and I have to learn from it."

Finland stemmed the tide in the remainder of the first period, although they managed only six shots on goal and only one of those — a goalmouth deflection in the ninth minute — forced Canadian goalie Mark Visentin to make what could be considered a difficult save.

Finland cut the margin in half 81 seconds into the middle period on Alexander Ruuttu's goal. But penalties did in the Finns. Canada scored 101 seconds after Ruuttu's goal, on a delayed penalty and added two power-play goals before the period ended.

"We can't take so much penalties and we have to better on the PK," said Hakanpaa. "Things didn't go too good today. We didn't get the good start and then the crowd was going wild when they got the two goals and it's hard to shut the crowd down."

Gibson agreed that the goals were the turning point. He played the entire game and said he wanted to remain in net despite the mounting score.

"We had chances to score some goals too, but Visentin made some nice saves so it was probably the turning point," said Gibson. "But we have to learn from the mistakes we made."

Hakanpaa, who tied for the team lead with four shots on goal in the game, said his team has to be better prepared and has to work harder in the remaining games of the tournament.

"We were outworked a bit and we can't do it," he said. "We have to be the hardest working team every night, that is how we play."

Helminen was disappointed with his team's beginning but wasn't overly critical of their work ethic.

"We had our moments, too, but we couldn't handle it," he said. "At those moments we have to play a lot smarter.

And, added Hakanpaas, they have to be much sharper on offence.

"We had our chances but couldn't get a goal. We have to be sharper."
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