Reinhart leads Canada over Finland

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Sam Reinhart scored a pair of goals on his way to being named the Canadian player of the game in Canada’s 4-1 victory over Finland in Group ‘A’ preliminary action on Monday.

The Buffalo Sabres prospect opened the scoring for the host team just over five minutes into the game on the power play. Reinhart, who hails from North Vancouver, B.C., increased the Canadian lead by two with his second goal of the night seven minutes into the second frame. The second-overall pick at 2014 NHL Entry Draft now has five points in three games for the Canadians matching his point total from last year’s tournament in Malmo, Sweden. Reinhart, 19, has 27 points in just 15 games with his club team, the Kootenay Ice of the WHL.

The win was extra special for Reinhart as he is one of the seven returning players who had their gold medal hopes dashed by the Finns a year ago. Finland, who will play host to next year’s tournament, eliminated Reinhart and the Canadians from gold-medal contention last winter in Malmo, Sweden. Led by goaltender Juuse Saros, the Finns defeated the Canadians 5-1 in the semifinals on their way to capturing the gold medal for the first time in 16 years.

Canada improves to 3-0-0-0 in the group stage with the victory while Finland depresses to 0-0-1-2. The Canadians move on to face their North American rivals, the U.S., on New Year’s Eve in a game that will decide the winner of Group ‘A’. Finland finishes up the preliminary round against the Germans on the final day of group play, Wednesday, Dec. 31.

Reinhart’s headline-worthy night was due in large part to his linemates, London Knights Max Domi and Quebec Remparts Anthony Duclair. The Canadians’ top line combined for six points. Domi drew two assists while Duclair had a goal and an assist to compliment Reinhart’s pair of goals. The dynamic trio has amassed 14 points through three preliminary games.

Edmonton Oil King turned Ottawa Senator, Curtis Lazar, rounded out the scoring for Canada on the power play. Special teams had a tremendous impact on Monday night’s game with Canada scoring two of their four goals on the man advantage. The Canadian power play continues to be red-hot going two-for-four against the Finns. Through three games this tournament, Team Canada is an outstanding five-for-10 with the man advantage. Finland, however, has disappointed with the extra man. The Finns are a tournament-worst zero-for-12 on the power play while conceding four power play goals in three games.

Finnish captain, Arrturi Lehkonen, was the lone goal-scorer for Finland. The even-strength goal was scored late in the second period when Lehkonen made the most out of a Samuel Morin turnover. Lehknonen and Mikko Rantenen are the only players to score for Finland this tournament.

The Lehkonen goal notwithstanding, Zachary Fucale continued to answer critics on Monday night. The newly acquired Quebec Rempart stopped 27-of-28 Finnish shots on his way to his second win of the tournament. Fucale, 19, boasts a goals against average of 0.50 and a save percentage of 0.975 per cent after two starts.

Both the Canadians and Finns will enjoy a day off before closing out the group stage on Wednesday against the United States and Germany respectively.

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