Canada blanks Finland

Canadian coach Brent Sutter should keep playing his hunches.
Patrice Bergeron scored two goals and added an assist while linemate Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists last night to lead Canada to a 6-0 victory over Finland in a tune-up for the world junior championship.
Sutter had a feeling that Crosby, a scoring star with the QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic, and Bergeron, who played with the NHL’s Boston Bruins last season, might be a good tandem.
“They have a great understanding between each other,” said Sutter. “I had a hunch that those two guys [Crosby and Bergeron] might fit in together.”
Kootenay Ice goalie Jeff Glass stopped all 10 shots he faced in front of a capacity crowd of 15,015 at the new MTS Centre.
Canada, which has 13 returning players from last year’s team, dominated play. They peppered Finnish netminder Joonas Hallikainen with 41 shots.
The world junior hockey tournament begins Dec. 25 in Grand Forks, N.D. and Thief River Falls, Mn.
Mike Richards, Clarke MacArthur, and Cam Barker also had goals for Canada, which opens the tournament against Slovakia.
Crosby opened the scoring on the power play with 25 seconds to play in the first period. Bergeron skated out from the corner and fed a cross-crease pass to Crosby, who chipped it over Hallikainen.
“Patrice [Bergeron] is teaching me a lot,” said Crosby, who at 17 is the youngest player on the team. “We have the chemistry. We’re both competitors.
“Colliton [Jeremy, the third member of the line] gives us a lot of space and drives to the net a lot.”
Canada held a 16-3 shots advantage in the opening period and had several quality chances turned away by the Finnish goalie.
“It wasn’t easy,” said forward Nigel Dawes, who plays for the WHL’s Kootenay Ice. “We had to outwork them, play solid defence, and take a lot of chances in the first period.
“We knew the puck would eventually go in.”
Richards, the team captain, made it 2-0 when his centring pass from behind the net went in off the back of Hallikainen’s skate at 7:40 of the second period.
Canada then struck with a pair of goals within a span of 1:35.
First, Crosby raced down the left boards, circled behind the net, and set up Bergeron directly in front. Bergerson tucked it behind the sprawled goalie.
MacArthur of the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers then made it 4-0 when he banged in his own rebound at 14:42 of the second period.
The game was already out of reach in the third when Crosby came out of the penalty box and set up Bergeron directly in front at 7:49.
“It’s awesome,” Bergerson said of playing with Crosby. “He is my roommate off the ice and we talk a lot. It gives us our chemistry on the ice.
“He’s got great vision. I know he is going to find a way to get me the puck. Take the second goal I scored, not too many guys are going to see somebody coming late.”
Less than four minutes later, the defenceman Barker snapped a wrist shot and beat Hallikainen to round out the scoring.
Canada wore replica vintage jerseys from the 1920 Winnipeg Falcons, who won the country’s first Olympic gold medal.
Team Canada is back in action tomorrow for another exhibition game against Switzerland.

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