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WJC 2013: Canada falls in first pre-tournament game

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

There's certainly pressure on Team Canada as pre-tournament play begins today, but with the team already selected, it's more about fine-tuning the engine.

After a 3-2 loss to Finland today in Helsinki, head coach Steve Spott will likely have a list of things to review with his club. The Canadians weren't very crisp with the puck (especially in the neutral zone) and made far too many mistakes that Finland would eventually take advantage of.

Finland was strong from the start and forced Canada into four minor penalties in the first 15 minutes of play. On their fourth power play of the opening period, Joel Armia set up Markus Granlund to give the Finns a 1-0 lead that they would take into the dressing room after 20 minutes.

But as they have shown over the years, the Canadians have a quick-strike offense that can change a game in the blink of an eye.

Blue Jackets
prospect Boone Jenner got Canada going in the second period with a deft set up that Griffin Reinhart buried at 3:05 of the middle frame.

Just 26 seconds later, it was Mark Scheifele finding pay dirt to give Canada 2-1 lead -- but Finland answered back. Ville Jarvelainen tallied on the power play late in the second period to tie the game, and Miro Aaltonen gave Finland a 3-2 lead that it would hang on to with just under 12 minutes left in regulation.

Canada was out-shot 42-27 on the day and really struggled to get anything going in the third period. Their second and final pre-tournament game is Saturday vs. Sweden, with the face-off set for 9 a.m. ET.

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