Canada 3 Finland 2 (OT)
RIGA, Latvia — Nick Paul scored in overtime on an assist from Ottawa Senators teammate Connor Brown, and Canada completed its amazing turnaround at the world hockey championship with a 3-2 win over Finland in the gold-medal game on Sunday.
Paul and Brown completed a two-on-one break during the three-a-side overtime with Brown sliding the puck over to Paul, who beat Finnish goaltender Jussi Olkinuora 6:26 into the extra frame.
Maxime Comtois and Adam Henrique also scored for Canada, which looked down-and-out after losing its first three games in Riga before going on an improbable run to the top of the podium.
“We started off 0-3, not the start we wanted, but we came together as a group,” Paul said. “People counted us out, we knew we were going to come together, work hard and take it in the end and we did. We made it closer than we wanted, but it was an unbelievable, hard-fought game and I’m super proud right now.”
Brown assisted on all three of Canada’s goals in the final to end the championship with a tournament-high 16 points (two goals, 14 assists) as Canada won its 27th world title and its third since 2015.
Mikael Ruohomaa and Petteri Lindbohm scored for Finland.
Andrew Mangiapane, whose arrival midway through the preliminary round provided a spark for Canada, was named player of the tournament. The Calgary Flames forward had seven goals — including the game-winners in Canada’s quarterfinal and semifinal victories — and four assists in seven games.
“I think (Mangiapane) came in and added an element that we needed at the right time,” Henrique said. “Him coming over was huge for our team, our team chemistry, and it seemed to click on the ice, which was big for us moving forward.”
Darcy Kuemper had a solid performance in goal for Canada, turning aside 29 shots. Olkinuora made 23 saves for Finland.
Earlier, the United States claimed bronze with a 6-1 win over Germany.
Sunday’s result was a measure of revenge for Canada, which denied Finland in its quest to win back-to-back world titles for the first time. The Finns beat Canada 3-1 in the 2019 world championship final. The 2020 tournament was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Finland also beat Canada 3-2 in a shootout on the final day of the preliminary round. The result almost knocked Canada out of medal contention.
“It feels great,” said Canada head coach Gerard Gallant. “Obviously we were in a deep hole early in the tournament, but we kept getting better and better. Tonight was an exceptional game and Finland is a great team.
“We had to battle hard against them, come from behind and fortunately for us we got the break in overtime, but hats off to Finland, they’re a great defending champion and it was a great game tonight.”
Canada got into early penalty trouble in the first period, and Finland eventually made them pay. Oliwer Kaski kept the puck in Canada’s zone at the blue line, then fed Ruohomaa, who had slipped past Canada’s defence. Ruohomaa beat Kuemper just as a high-sticking penalty to Paul was expiring.