Canada routs France, advances to quarterfinals at world hockey championship

Dylan Cozens, centre, of Canada, celebrates his goal with teammates. (AP/CP)

HELSINKI — Canada is through to the quarterfinals at the men’s world hockey championship after beating France 7-1 Tuesday.

Coming off a surprising 3-2 loss to Denmark on Monday, the Canadians jumped out to 2-0 lead before the end of the first period and refused to relent for the rest of the game.

“I liked the way we played for the full 60 minutes tonight. We did the things we needed to do and improved on some of the aspects of our game we wanted to focus on,” said head coach Claude Julien. “We were moving the puck a lot better, getting more shots and we had net-front traffic, and I am happy with the way our guys responded today.”

Pierre-Luc Dubois led with two goals and an assist, Dylan Cozens scored and added a pair of helpers, Zach Whitecloud put up one of each and Drake Batherson contributed four assists.

“We do not want to give other teams opportunities to score or expose us defensively, and that was a focus tonight,” Dubois said. “We do not need to trade scoring chances with other teams all game, but rather limit the scoring chances they get and capitalize on our own.

“We are confident in our team and the players we have, and we need to play our game and play the right way to have success now that a medal is on the line.”

Eric O’Dell buried his first goal of the tournament on a breakaway 15:10 into the second period to give the Canadians a 5-0 advantage.

Max Comtois and Damon Severson rounded out the scoring for Canada, which improved to 5-2 in preliminary round play.

The French (1-1-5) got a goal from Anthony Rech 8:20 into the third period.

Sebastian Ylonen stopped 37-of-44 shots for France and Chris Driedger made 18 saves for Canada.

The Canadians will face Sweden in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

“It is going to be an amazing game,” said Canadian centre Cole Sillinger. “(Sweden) is obviously a very skilled team and they work hard, and they have some good NHL players. ? We are really looking forward to the challenge on Thursday.”

The other quarterfinal matchups will see Germany take on Czechia, Switzerland face the U.S. and Finland battle Slovakia.

The semifinals are set for Saturday and the medal games will go Sunday.

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