GANGNEUNG, South Korea – Maxim Noreau (Montreal, Que./SC Bern, NLA) scored the lone goal 55 seconds into the third period, and Canada’s Men’s Olympic Team booked a spot in the semifinals at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games with a 1-0 quarter-final win over Finland on Wednesday.
The Canadians will face Germany – who upset Sweden in overtime in its quarter-final – in the final four on Friday morning (7:10 a.m. ET/4:10 a.m. PT).
After 40 minutes of goalless hockey, Noreau finally broke the ice less than a minute into the third period. Off a won face-off by Eric O’Dell (Ottawa, Ont./HC Sochi, KHL), Noreau one-timed an absolute rocket past the blocker of Finnish netminder Mikko Koskinen to provide all the offence Canada would need.
The Canadians held the Finns to just 21 shots on goal; Ben Scrivens (Spruce Grove, Alta./Salavat Yulaev Ufa, KHL) stopped all six shots he faced before leaving with an injury early in the second period, and Kevin Poulin (Montreal, Que./EHC Kloten, NLA) was perfect on 15 chances the rest of the way.
Neither team could find its offensive stride in the first period, combining for just nine shots on goal – 5-4 in favour of Finland – in the opening 20 minutes.
Canada picked up its game in the second, directing 18 shots at Koskinen, but the stalemate continued and the teams headed to the intermission still without a goal.
Scrivens left the game with an upper-body injury after a collision in the crease just past the four-minute mark of the middle frame. Poulin entered and was immediately tested, but kept the game at 0-0.
The Canadian netminder had nine saves in the second period and six more in the third, and has now gone more than 260 minutes without allowing a goal in a Team Canada jersey, dating back to the semifinals of the Spengler Cup.
The win also runs Canada’s shutout streak in regulation and overtime to 164 minutes and 35 seconds, which ranks as the fourth-longest streak in Canadian Olympic history.
“It is pretty emotional. What a battle. I can’t believe what happened. We made a goalie change and what an effort. That was a tough game to play – they started pressing in the third and we dug in, blocked shots, and I’m really proud of this group. That’s kind of our identity – a hard-working, defensive-minded team, and I thought that’s exactly how we played and we know that’s what’s going to bring us success.”
Team Canada captain Chris Kelly on advancing to the semifinal
“I won the face-off and was trying to set up Maxie [Maxim Noreau], and we know what kind of shot he has. It was huge for our team. It got us going. [Kevin Poulin] is a focused guy and we knew when he jumped in we would get the best from him, and that’s all we ask for.”
Eric O’Dell on setting up the goal by Noreau, and Poulin’s performance following Scrivens’ exit in the second period