Team Canada cemented their status as the Group A champion with a 4-1 win against Finland on Thursday afternoon. Dylan Cozens led the way for the Canadians with two goals while Brad Lambert got the lone Finnish marker. Oilers prospect Dylan Holloway netted the game-winner with a shin-pad deflection in the second in what was his best game of the tournament thus far.
The win means that Canada will advance to the quarterfinals to take on the Czech Republic. How did we get here? Let's take a period by period look at how Dylan Holloway and Team Canada secured their first-place performance...
We expected a closer game for the in this one and close one we got...at least that is what the scoreboard would’ve told you. Team Canada got on the board early with an unassisted Dylan Cozens marker less than five minutes in and it was absolute domination from there on out. The Finns were completely overwhelmed by Canada as they forced turnover after turnover and played most of the period in their own end. Dylan Holloway showed well in the period, having a few good moments that showed off his ability to protect the puck and he nearly scored on a chance in front of the net but missed.
The period would end with Canada up 1-0 giving the illusion of a close game. Make no mistake, Canada dominated the opening frame, outshooting Finland by a wide 17-1 margin. Some serious changes needed to be done if they had a chance at beating Canada in the next 40 minutes.
The Finns had an early jump in the first minute of the second, getting the first shot of the period, but things would quickly shift back in Canada’s favour. Holloway would draw an interference penalty after chipping the puck in that would help Canada re-establish pressure. While they wouldn’t convert on the man-advantage, Canada would finally extend their lead after Jakob Pelletier would let a shot go from the slot that hit Holloway in the shin and into the net. Holloway gets credit for his first of the tournament and Canada led 2-0 early in the second.
Peyton Krebs would add another one for the Canadians after tucking home a rebound off a Bowen Byram point shot. I will give the Finns credit as they were better this period but the relentless forecheck from Canada was simply too much for them to handle. Should also say that this was the best period of the tournament for Holloway as he picks up a goal and showed off his ability to wreak havoc in front of the net. 3-0 heading into the third.
The final frame saw the Finns gather some momentum early on. They started testing Levi for the first time all game and it eventually paid off. Brad Lambert was able to capitalize on Finland’s first PP of the game as he zipped a nice shot from the face-off circle to get the Finns on the board. Less than five minutes in and they had some life at 3-1.
It seemed like complacency started to creep into Canada’s game as they were under attack more often than they were in the past two periods. It would be too little too late though as the Canadians would cruise to the 4-1 win and take first place in Group A.
Final Thoughts on Holloway:
This was easily the best game we have seen out of Dylan Holloway since the tournament began. He was more involved in the play and was more of a thorn in the side of Finland all night long. He let his presence be felt early as he acted as a decoy on Cozen’s first goal of the game and was in the right place at the right time to get the game-winner. Overall, he showed us that power-forward style of play that we have all been waiting for. It seems like Holloway is getting better with each game he plays so let's hope he continues that trend into the medal round.