Photo credit:(Photo from Steven Ellis/Daily Faceoff)
Fraser Minten, Easton Cowan help lead Canada to win over Finland in 2024 World Junior Championship opener
By Steven Ellis1 month ago
Canada kicked off the opening day of World Junior Championship action in Sweden with a 5-2 win over Finland.
It was an impressive effort for the Canadians, who kept goaltender Niklas Kokko busy throughout the game. Nate Danielson scored the icebreaker in the first, with undrafted forward Owen Allard doubling up Canada’s advantage later in the second period.
Both of Toronto’s prospects played in Canada’s top six, with Fraser Minten helping out on the third line alongside Conor Geekie and Jordan Dumais. Easton Cowan was on Canada’s second line with Matthew Poitras and Matthew Savoie, which proved to be Canada’s most dangerous line in the opening frame.
Cowan had a quiet game statistically, registering one shot and a penalty. Cowan’s role was to bring energy, but he helped spring Jordan Dumais for a partial breakaway that fell short in the second period. Still, he killed penalties, brought speed while blocking shots and forcing turnovers – everything we’ve come to know from his game.
Minten was held off the scoresheet entirely, but like Cowan, his defensive game was stout. He was more of the two-way presence on the top line, with Poitras and Savoie doing their own thing around the net all game long. While the other two were getting creative, Minten was helping Canada’s D-core push the attackers to the outside. He had two shots in the second period and had a couple of nice feeds in the third in an otherwise tightly contested battle.
The win was big for Canada, who is expected to be a close three-way fight with Sweden and Finland the rest of the way. The Canadians would have the advantage in a tiebreaker situation if the two teams finished tied in Group A, so every win – and every goal – matters.
There won’t be much of a break for Canada, who’ll face off against Latvia at 1:30 PM ET tomorrow. Canada enters as the heavy favourite, but both teams will be tired after opening night contests. The Canadians will then get Thursday off before a huge bout against Sweden on Friday, a battle that could ultimately decide who wins Group A.
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