TAMPERE, FINLAND — Sakari Manninen scored in overtime to lift host Finland to a 4-3 win over Canada in a wild gold-medal game at the men’s World Hockey Championship on Sunday.
Finland also got two goals from Mikael Granlund and another from Joel Armia. Dylan Cozens, Zach Whitecloud and Max Comtois scored for Canada, while Matt Barzal chipped in with three assists.
The Finns held a 3-1 lead late in the third before the Canadians struck for two goals with their goaltender pulled.
Whitecloud scored with 2:12 remaining to pull Canada to within one goal before Comtois forced three-on-three overtime with the tying goal with 84 seconds remaining in regulation.
Manninen's winner was scored on the power play six minutes into the extra frame after Canadian captain Thomas Chabot was whistled for a hooking minor.
With the 4-on-3 advantage, Manninen was able to sneak into the right circle with all Canadian eyes on Granlund who had the puck at left point. Recognizing this, Granlund fired a quick pass to the unmarked Manninen who unleashed a howitzer one-timer to clinch the world title.
The Canadian side wasn't pleased with the call and took exception to the way things ended.
“The fact that we were able to come back in two big games shows how much character this team has. We never gave up, we believed in ourselves, and obviously it is difficult to come up short like we did,” said captain Thomas Chabot.
"I think it's pretty obvious that the guy threw himself, but at the end of the day my stick was in there and I put myself in that position, so it's a hockey call and things happen quick," added Chabot. "But I think everyone can agree that it was a bit of a dive, I think."
"It sucks," Canadian forward Pierre-Luc Dubois told the TSN broadcast right after the game. "I mean, you work so hard and for it to be decided like that it sucks. We know when we come into these tournaments it's different rules but that's not the point. It's frustrating.
"You don't even know the rule book anymore."
“To lose in overtime when you are short-handed is frustrating. You work so hard all tournament, and to come that close to winning is a difficult thing to fathom,” Pierre-Luc Dubois of Canada said. “I like to win, and that is why I wanted to represent Canada. ... We gave it everything we had, we went through the ups and downs, but we stuck with it and we were so close to taking home gold.”
It's the fourth time that Finland has won the world championship.
This was the third time in as many world championships these two nations have met in the gold-medal game.
“We had great character on this hockey club. Two big games [against Sweden and Finland] where we were down by two goals, and we were able to tie the games in the final two minutes,” said Canadian coach Claude Julien.
“That shows the type of team we had. I am proud of our guys that came over here to represent Canada, and I am so proud of how hard they played all tournament.”
Finland won in 2019, then Canada took revenge in 2021, followed up, now, with the Finns reclaiming their title. The 2020 championship was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Finns were also the 2022 Olympic champions back in February.
Canada led 1-0 entering the third period after Cozens opened the scoring on a Canadian power play four minutes into the second period.
Granlund, who plays for the NHL’s Nashville Predators, evened the score early in the third on a five-on-three advantage with Canada’s Noah Gregor (tripping) and Cole Sillinger (high-sticking) both sitting in the box.
Canadian goaltender Chris Driedger suffered an injury on the play and was replaced by backup Matt Tomkins, who quickly surrendered a second power-play goal to Backlund.
Earlier on Sunday, Czechia hammered the United States 8-4 to win the bronze medal as David Pastrnak scored a hat trick, all in the third period.