December 26, 2005
VANCOUVER (CP) -- Canada opened defence of its gold medal at the world junior hockey championship with a 5-1 win over Finland on Monday.
Dustin Boyd of the Moose Jaw Warriors led the host team with two goals. Blake Comeau of the Kelowna Rockets had a goal and an assist.
Canadian captain Kyle Chipchura of the Prince Albert Raiders and David Bolland of the London Knights also scored.
|Justin Pogge stood tall in his first test with the Canadian Juniors. (Photo courtesy of Fletcher Photography and hitmenhockey.com) |
Michigan's Andrew Cogliano had two assists.
Goaltender Justin Pogge of the Calgary Hitmen made 16 saves for the win.
Aki Seitsonen, a Raiders teammate of Chipchura's, halted Pogge's shutout bid with a power-play goal at 8:49 of the third period.
Canada will practise Tuesday before meeting Switzerland on Wednesday and Norway on Thursday.
There are 10 teams in the tournament and the top three in each pool advance to the playoff round. The top team in each group earns a bye past the quarter-final.
The Canadians' capitalized on a couple of defensive miscues by the Finns and their special teams were key.
Boyd and Bolland each scored a power-play goal to stake Canada to a 4-0 head start. The Finns were held scoreless on their first six chances before Seitsonen converted.
Canada threw some big checks and stayed on the defensive side of the play for the most part. After taking a 3-0 lead early in the second period, the Canadians began to throw the puck around with confidence and put more pressure on goaltender Tuuka Raask.
Canada outshot Finland 13-4 in the third period and 31-17 overall.
The last half of the third period was a steady parade of players to the penalty box on both sides as Finland's frustration began to show and the Canadians refused to back down.
The game was a showdown of goaltenders drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs and Pogge, who signed a contract with Toronto last week, came out on top. While Canada's defence didn't give a lot of quality chances to the Finns, Pogge stopped the puck in traffic and cut off the angles on Finnish shooters.
There were a few empty seats in the upper and lower bowls of Pacific Coliseum, former home of the Vancouver Canucks, which has a capacity of 16,878. Attendance was announced at 16,083.
Chipchura followed a breaking Bolland to the net and banged in a rebound at 14:03 of the third period to restore Canada's four-goal lead after Seitsonen's goal.
Finland was snakebitten around the Canadians' net most of the night. Juho Jokinen hit the post during a power play early in the third period.
Boyd, a Calgary Flames draft pick, dove for a rebound off the post on a shot from Comeau and knocked it past Raask at 14:27 of the second period to give Canada a 4-0 lead.
|Tuuka Raask faced 31 shots in the loss. (Getty Images) |
Bolland's shot from the point deflected high off a Finnish defenceman and over Raask, who had come out of the net to stop it, for a power-play goal and a 3-0 lead for Canada at 3:17 of the second period.
Finnish forward Mikko Lehtonen overskated the puck in the defensive zone and Comeau made good on the gift by pouncing on the loose puck going in alone upstairs on a sprawling Raask at 15:52 of the first period to give Canada a two-goal cushion heading into the second period.
The Canadians looked shaky on their first man advantage of the game and got only one quality shot away.
But they showed good patience on their second power play as Andrew Cogliano dropped the puck down to Steve Downie on the goal-line on Raask's left. Downie fed the puck through traffic across to Boyd who tapped it in on Raask stick-side.
Michael Blunden creamed Matti Koistinen 22 seconds into the game and while it drew appreciation from Pacific Coliseum, it also drew an elbowing minor and Canada's penalty killers were put to work early.
Lauri Tukonen, a first-round pick of the Los Angeles Kings, skated off holding his arm after taking a hit from Guillaume Latendresse in the third period.
Tukonen had the Finns' best chance in the first period on an odd-man rush, but was stopped by Pogge.
CP Player of the Game - Dustin Boyd. Scored two goals for Canada, including the all-important first one to get the Pacific Coliseum crowd behind Canada, and his second was a diving effort on a rebound. Excellent penalty killer for Canada as he forced a turnover at Canada's blue-line where he stole the puck from Timo Seppanen and had a short-handed breakaway. Boyd was stopped by Rask, but he drew a slashing penalty from Teemu Laakso, which led to Bolland's goal.