DAVOS, Switzerland – Daniel Winnik (Toronto, Ont./Genève-Servette HC, NLA) opened the scoring in the third period, but Canada’s National Men’s Team came out on the wrong end of an eight-round shootout in a 2-1 loss to KalPa Kuopio in the championship game Monday at the 2018 Spengler Cup.
Zach Boychuk (Airdrie, Alta./SC Bern, NLA) and Cory Emmerton (St. Thomas, Ont./Lausanne HC, NLA) added goals in the shootout for the Canadians, who had four chances to win their fourth-consecutive tournament title but couldn’t find a way past Denis Godla.
The Kuopio goaltender, whose name is familiar to Canadian fans as MVP of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship in Toronto and Montreal, was spectacular, finishing with 39 saves in regulation and overtime before stopping six of eight in the shootout.
Chris DiDomenico (Woodbridge, Ont./SCL Tigers, NLA), Boychuk, Zac Dalpe (Paris, Ont./Cleveland, AHL) and Emmerton all had the championship on their stick, but it was Jaakko Rissanen who scored the winner, beating Canadian netminder Zach Fucale (Rosemère, Que./Fort Wayne, ECHL) with a quick shot to the glove side on the 15th attempt.
Andrew Ebbett (Vernon, B.C./SC Bern, NLA) had the last chance for the Canadians, but the captain was turned away by one final stop from Godla.
The game was a goaltender’s duel from the first drop of the puck, with Fucale and Godla matching saves through two scoreless periods that saw Canada hold a 25-13 advantage in shots on goal.
Winnik finally broke through just past the five-minute mark of the third period, following up a Torrey Mitchell (Greenfield Park, Que./Lausanne HC, NLA) breakaway and stuffing the rebound past Godla for the 1-0 goal.
But Eetu Luostarinen got the Finnish side even at 11:24, swatting a bouncing puck past Fucale at the side of the Canadian net to eventually force an extra period.
The teams traded opportunities during the five minutes of three-on-three hockey, with Dalpe owning the best chance; his quick backhand beat Godla but not the post.
Boychuk and Emmerton matched goals by Ville-Vesa Vainiola and Alexandre Texier in the opening stage of the shootout before the goaltenders took over again, at one point making nine-straight saves.
The loss ends Canada’s record-setting win streak at the tournament at 12 games.