For the 5 members of Team Canada who were part of last year’s squad, this game is just a little bit more important than just the one they need to win to get to the gold medal final. In last year’s Quarterfinals in Vancouver, the Finns tied it in the last minute, then went on to win in OT on a Toni Utonen goal, so you can bet there’s payback on the minds of Alexis Lafrenniere, Joe Veleno, Barrett Hayton, Ty Smith and Jared MacIssac as Canada prepares to take on the Finns.
Another Canadian player who will be fired up for today is Nolan Foote, as he returns following an ejection early in the game against Slovakia for a questionable check to the head penalty. He was not suspended, and that’s a good thing, as the Canadian team will have their hands full with this Finnish team. Canada’s used their PP to dismantle their opponents rather effectively, but will be up against the team that took the 2nd least amount of penalties in the tournament. They’re relentless checkers, and will force Canada to have to make sure they capitalize on any Finnish mistakes, while avoiding their own.
The early game is going to determine who they play tomorrow, either Nils Hoglander and the high-flying Swedes, or Vasili Podkolzin and the Russians, as well as whether it’s for gold, or bronze.