Team Canada captures gold at IIHF World Championship
Team Canada has won gold at the 2023 IIHF World Championship in Finland.
Sammy Blais scored twice while Lawson Crouse, Tyler Toffoli and Scott Laughton also connected to lead Canada to a 5-2 victory over Germany in Sunday’s gold medal game. Samuel Montembeault earned the win in net.
It’s the first gold medal for Team Canada at the men’s worlds since 2021 and the country’s 28th title overall. It’s been an impressive run for Canada at this event, appearing in four straight gold medal games and seven of the past eight.
Germany opened the scoring 7:44 into the first period when JJ Peterka accepted a pass at the blue line, skated into the circle and wired a shot under the glove of Montembeault. Canada challenged for offside but the goal stood, which issued the Canadians a delay of game penalty. As the team has all tournament, Canada produced a solid penalty kill and remained down just a goal.
Blais tied the match at 10:47. Peyton Krebs carried the puck into the offensive zone and sped past the German defense before firing a pass to a wide open Blais. It was the third straight game that the St. Louis Blues forward scored in.
Canada pressured late in the first but could not take the lead. Shots were 12-7 in favour of the Canadians in the opening frame.
3:16 into the second, Justin Barron was called for a trip and sent Canada back to the penalty kill. The Germans produced some sustained pressure in the offensive zone but could not get any good shots on Montembeault.
Canada created a good chance later in the period when Jake Neighbours carried the puck in on an odd-man rush. Neighbours had his shot stopped by German netminder Mathias Niederberger and produced a rebound that Krebs couldn’t quite get enough on.
Germany retook the lead with 6:13 remaining in the second. Maximilian Kastner had the puck near the sideboards and backhanded a pass to Daniel Fischbuch who beat Montembeault, making it 2-1 for the Germans.
With 2:32 remaining in the period, Crouse tied the game with a power play marker. Krebs fired a hard pass to the slot area where Crouse redirected the puck past Niederberger, making it a 2-2 match after two.
Canada took their first lead of the game just 4:51 into the third period. A Cody Glass wraparound attempt was stopped by Niederberger but Blais was able to put the loose puck up and over the German netminder, making it 3-2 for the Canadians.
Canada took a two-goal lead at 11:51. After Germany turned the puck over in the offensive zone, Canada had a long two-on-one. Toffoli opted to keep the puck and beat Niederberger with a perfectly placed five-hole shot to make it 4-2 for Canada.
The Germans pulled their goaltender with over three minutes remaining. With 1:54 left, Laughton hit the empty net from the neutral zone to make it a 5-2 final.
Team Canada earned a spot in the championship game with a 4-2 victory over Latvia in Saturday’s semifinals. The team defeated Finland 4-1 in Thursday’s quarterfinals after finishing second in Group B in preliminary round play, winning five of their seven games. Canada’s only losses came when they fell 3-2 in a shootout to Norway and 3-2 in regulation to Switzerland.
Germany, meanwhile, finished preliminary round play with four wins and three losses. They upset Switzerland — the top seed in Group B — in the quarterfinals and then handed the United States their first loss of the tournament in the semifinals, winning 4-3 in overtime to advance to the gold medal game.
Earlier in the day, Latvia defeated the United States 4-3 in overtime to claim the bronze medal. It’s the first medal for Latvia at any top-level IIHF event.