Canada to play for World Championship gold after blowing out Czechs

May 28 2022, 6:19 pm

Canada is going back to the gold medal game at the IIHF World Hockey Championship.

The defending champion Canadians overcame first-period penalty trouble and a 1-0 deficit to beat Czechia 6-1 in the semi-finals Saturday in Tampere, Finland.

David Krejci gave the Czechs a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal at 7:07 of the first period. Canada took eight minutes in penalties in the opening frame, while the Czechs stayed out of the box.

But before the first period was done, Dylan Cozens banged in the equalizing goal for Canada after a centring feed from Pierre-Luc Dubois to tie the game with 33 seconds left.

In the second period, it was the Czechs who were undisciplined, and the Canadians made them pay.

A retaliation penalty by David Pastrnak put the Czechs shorthanded for the first time, and 16 seconds later Adam Lowry gave Canada their first lead. Kent Johnson scored an insurance marker, and Mathew Barzal extended the lead with a power-play goal, putting Canada up 4-1 after 40 minutes.

They never looked back.

Canada added two more goals in the third period, from Cole Sillinger and a second tally from Cozens.

“It’s a good sign for the final,” Max Comtois said of Canada’s performance in a television interview with TSN. “We started a little bit slow again but found a way to get back to our game. We didn’t give [up] a whole lot after that… It’s a total team effort and that’s what we’re going to need to win the gold medal.”

Goaltender Chris Driedger stopped 25 of the 26 shots he faced, and was named Canada’s top player of the game. Cozens (two goals, one assist), Johnson (one goal, one assist), and Drake Batherson (two assists) all had multi-point games for Canada.

It was a far less dramatic game for Team Canada than their previous outing, which saw them erase a three-goal deficit in the third period before beating Sweden in overtime in the quarter-finals.

The gold medal game will be played between Canada and Finland on Sunday at 1:20 pm ET/10:20 am PT. The host Finns beat USA 4-3 earlier in the day in the other semi-final.

This is the third straight World Championship gold medal game between the two countries, with Canada winning in 2021 and Finland winning in 2019 (the tournament was cancelled in 2020).

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