BUFFALO, N.Y. — Boris Katchouk’s controversial goal was allowed and he added an assist as Canada beat Finland 4-2 on Tuesday to open the world junior hockey championship.
Katchouk’s linemate Taylor Raddysh also scored and added an assist for Canada, while Drake Batherson had the eventual winner and Sam Steel added a goal.
Carter Hart made 29 saves in net for the win.
Aleksi Heponiemi and Henri Jokiharju replied for Finland, while Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stopped 28-of-32 shots.
Defenceman Dante Fabbro made his return to Canada’s lineup. He had missed both of the Canadians’ pre-tournament tune-up games and two of Canada’s three selection camp exhibitions with a lower-body contusion suffered from blocking a puck while playing for Boston University.
Katchouk opened scoring 5;34 into the game, breaking up a pass between Finnish defencemen for a breakaway and putting the puck past Luukkonen with a backhand.
But Katchouk followed the puck into the net and Finnish head coach Jussi Ahokas challenged the play on the grounds that the puck hadn’t yet crossed the goal-line when the Canadian fell into the goal. Officials ruled it a good goal, however.
Finland seemed rattled by the call standing, allowing Steel to add a goal 27 seconds later with Finnish captain Juuso Valimaki in the penalty box for slashing. Steel jumped on a rebound off Luukkonen’s pad and snapped it over the goalie’s outstretched glove for a 2-0 Canada lead.
Heponiemi replied 12;19 into the first, banging the puck into the net when a Canadian defenceman tried to clear it out of the crease for Hart.
Batherson came right back for Canada, dropping to one knee to one time a pass from Jonah Gadjovich past Luukkonen to make it 3-1 before the first intermission. Despite the score, Finland had outshot Canada 12-7 in the period.
Jokiharju rifled a shot from the point that deflected off Gadjovich’s leg and behind a screened Hart to cut Canada’s lead to one near the midway point of the second period. It was a power-play goal with Katchouk in the box for tripping.
Raddysh put a slapshot from the point past Luukkonen at the 12;47 mark of the second, with the puck fluttering into the net for a 4-2 Canada lead.
Finland thought it had a goal late in the third period when the puck rolled behind Hart and toward the goal-line. But defenceman Cal Foote dove behind his goaltender and swatted the puck with his hand, bouncing it off the post and out. A video review at the next stoppage of play upheld the no-goal call on the ice.
By John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press