Team Canada faced off against Team Finland for the second time in the World Junior Hockey Championship on Thursday and won with a score of 4-0 to secure the tournament’s bronze medal. The victory was bitter-sweet as the Canadians fell to the Russians for the second year in a row, keeping them from playing in the gold medal game in front of their adoring Alberta fans.
Some believed that the Canadians wouldn’t have it in them mentally to compete against Finland after the loss to Russia, but forward Brett Connolly, who returns now to his spot on the Tampa Bay Lightning roster, told the Toronto Sun that the team was very close, and that there were no doubts going into the game against Finland.
Connolly also told the press, after the game, that the team didn’t want to leave the tournament empty-handed.
“I think we owed it to ourselves and the fans of Edmonton and Calgary and all of Canada to come out and play for each other and our country. It wasn’t easy. Obviously you want to play in that gold medal game. But I’m proud of the guys for hanging in there.”
The Bolts’ Connolly ended the tournament with six points (five goals, one assist) which averaged him at a point per game. His stats for the tournament also included one game-winning goal, one short-handed goal, a plus-4 rating, four penalty minutes, and 17 shots on goal.
Connolly will be rejoining the Tampa Bay Lightning in Montreal as they take on the Canadiens on Saturday. There is a good chance he will be in the line-up after J.T. Wyman and Adam Hall left the game against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday with injuries.
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