Canada vs. Finland: 5 keys to a quarter-final victory
Top line, goalie Michael DiPietro have shone while special teams remain work in progress
Fresh off Monday's 2-1 setback to Russia — its toughest test at this year's world junior hockey championship — Team Canada's potential path to the gold-medal game doesn't get any easier, starting Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. ET.
"We're going to come out hard," Canada forward Morgan Frost, who with seven points shares the tournament scoring lead with American Ryan Poehling, told reporters. "We want revenge against them. I don't think you've seen our best yet."
Here are 5 keys to a Canadian victory at Rogers Arena:
Tippett's lethal weapon
Possessing an NHL-level shot, Owen Tippett has had scoring chances of late but hasn't found the back of the net for Canada since the second period of its tournament-opening 14-0 drubbing of Denmark, which was shut out in each of its four round-robin games.
More of the same from Mikey
Michael DiPietro, who stood out versus Russia with a 29-save performance, has turned aside 66 of 69 shots for a .957 save percentage in three games, one year after being a late cut at Canada's selection camp.
Tops in the Ontario Hockey League this season with a 2.26 goals-against average, DiPietro stopped 13 of 15 shots in the pre-tourney loss to Finland.
"He's our rock back there. He's always calm in high-pressure situations," says Canadian left-winger Jaret Anderson-Dolan.
Canada's power-play and penalty-kill units continue to be a work in progress. Finland scored two power-play goals and a pair of shorthanded tallies on Dec. 23, while the Canadians failed to convert three chances when up a man against Russia.
Much of Canada's goal production since its tournament opener has come from the top forward line of captain Max Comtois, Cody Glass and Owen Tippett, along with MacKenzie Entwistle.
Morgan Frost has yet to notch an even-strength goal since his hat trick against Denmark while Anderson-Dolan and 17-year-old Alexis Lafreniere have one goal for the tournament.
Opening the scoring
Canada has scored the first goal in each of its four games at this year's world juniors and won three times.
In the last seven meetings between Canada and Finland, the team that scored first prevailed six times. On Jan. 2, 2016, the Canadians scored first in Helsinki and dropped a 6-5 decision.
Recent Canada-Finland matchups
- Dec. 26, 2017, Buffalo: Canada 4, Finland 2 (Taylor Raddysh, two points)
- Jan. 2, 2016, Helsinki: Finland 6, Canada 5 (Mitch Marner, two goals; Brayden Point, two points)
- Dec. 29, 2014, Montreal: Canada 4, Finland 1 (Sam Reinhart, two goals)
- Jan. 4, 2014, Sweden: Finland 5, Canada 1
- Jan. 5, 2012, Calgary: Canada 4, Finland 0 (Quinton Howden, two goals)
- Dec. 26, 2011, Edmonton: Canada 8, Finland 1 (Jonathan Huberdeau, goal and five points; Mark Stone, three goals)