CanucksArmy World Junior Recap: Finland 5 – 2 Slovakia

The third game of day five of the World Junior Championship matched up Finland Vs. Slovakia. It’s been well documented that Finland has been struggling to score goals with only six scored early in the tournament, did that change today? Lets take a look.


First period

The first period was uneventful. Slovakia was trapping and Finland was happy to dump the puck in and engage in battles for the puck down low.

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If you’re here, you’re likely a Canucks fan and just wondering how Olli Juolevi did so I’ll jump into that. Boring games are Juolevi’s time to shine, and he did. Again, he was steady in the neutral zone, breaking up plays and forcing the opposition to dump the puck in. He was smart with the puck, effectively drawing in forecheckers and utilizing his speedy defensive partner to maximize controlled zone exits, a trait of fan favourite, Chris Tanev.

In the chart below, notice that Juolevi had the second highest controlled zone exit rate, trailing only his partner, Chicago 2017, first round pick, Henri Jokiharju. Furthermore, note that fail rate, one fail on 19  touches, not too shabby.  The lower total exit rate is because the rate is based off defensive zone touches. If you see a lower total zone exit rate paired with a low fail rate, it means that the defencemen are passing multiple times prior to the exit. To put it simply, more touches per exit equals a lower exit rate.

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Second Period

With the game tied 1-1, Olli Juolevi did his part to help the struggling Finnish powerplay. I’d say this is the type of offensive play you’d expect Juolevi to contribute, nothing flashy, just a smart heads up pass leading to an easy tap in for Aapeli Rasanen to put Finland up 2-1 late in the second.

Third Period

Florida Panthers draft pick, Aleksi Heponiemi scored to make it 3-1 at the 6:23 mark of the third period. It was his second goal and point in three games which is acceptable on most players standards, but from Heponiemi, I was expecting more production. Keep in mind this is a player who has put up an incredible 71 points in 29 games with the Swift Current Broncos this year. Watch for an increase in production from the 2017, second round pick soon.

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Slovakia would score one to cut the lead to one, and then this happened, yikes! 4-2 Finland.

Finland’s Markus Nurmi would add another one to make it 5-2 with a slick backhand shot for the final goal of the game.


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  • Juolevi played 19:03 over 28 shifts and for the most part, had another solid game spiced up a little bit with his beautiful primary assist. However, there were some blips on the radar. On one of the goals against, Juolevi was late reacting to defensive zone face-off that was pushed forward by the Slovakian centre. As a result, he was behind the play until Slovakia put the puck in the net. On a serparate note, a primary concern I have with Juolevi is his ability to get himself out of trouble which was only apparent today on one shift in the first period. He coughed up the puck, won it back, then passed to his partner Jokiharju and put him in a tough situation, reminds you a bit of his preseason, right? That being said, there were only a couple of hiccups in an otherwise steady game.
  • Nashville Predators first round pick, Eeli Tolvanen had a strong game was noticeably physical on the forecheck, separating plenty of opponents from the puck which is a huge part of Finland’s offensive strategy. Tolvanen played 19:03, had 1 assist, and finished with six, five on five primary shot contributions with four shot attempts while setting up two.
  • Undrafted, 19 year old, Finnish forward, Jere Innala had a big game finishing with ten primary shot contributions taking six shot attempts while setting up four shots.

  • Both Andrey Pedan and Frank Corrado got called up to the big show by the Pens over the last couple of days. Nice way for both to see in the New Year. Good luck Andrey.

    Juolevi had another unspectacular game, but that doesn’t mean bad. I see him starting with the Canucks next year in a reduced role. He’s still in his first year ELC, so there’s time.
    I think Jim Benning makes a move in January. Possibly a trade involving Gudbranson, followed by a trade deadline deal involving Ben Hutton, leaving our D like this:

    Edler – Stecher

    Del Zotto – Pouliot

    Juolevi – Tanev

    Holm – Biega

    • argoleas

      Guddy trade should be coming. I do not see a Hutton trade unless it’s some kind of lateral move. The better option is to pair him with Tanev. No way should Joulevi be paired with Tanev in his rookie season. In any case. I still see Joulevi starting next season in Utica (unless he blows our socks off in training camp.)

      So next season, I see more of:

      Edler – Stecher
      Hutton – Tanev
      Del Zotto – Pouliot
      Holm – Biega

      Then in 2 seasons

      Hutton – Tanev
      Joulevi – Pouliot
      Holm – Stecher

      At this point we should also have a much better idea if Brisbois and Chatfield are turning into legitimate NHLers

      • speering major

        The Canucks need to move on from Tanev. Not because Tanev isn’t good, because this is a rebuild and Tanev can command significant assets in return. This draft is deep on D so the Canucks would be wise to acquire a first rounder or two.

        Tanev is in his prime and his injury record is growing. Holding on to him is actually a high risk low return proposition. Are playoffs even realistic next season or a long shot? Definitely a long shot. The goal should be to build towards a 2019-2020 team. By that time the team can hope to built around Demko, Petterson, Boeser, Horvat, Juolevi, and this years #1 pick. If that’s not the case, they can keep rebuilding. Hoping Edler, Tanev, Markstrom, Sutter, and Sedins are going to push the team in to the playoffs while neglecting the rebuild is just a terrible idea. Signing vets to short term deals to fill gaps and allow the kids to develop properly is the way to go. Assets like Tanev, Vanek, Gudbranson, and Gagner need to be turned over for futures

  • Burnabybob

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Canucks draft a defenseman in the first round of the 2018 draft. Assuming Gudbranson is traded, they will need to add size to their blueline at some point, but they also need someone who can help their powerplay. Obviously, Dahlin or Boqvist would be amazing, but assuming they pick somewhere 6-10, Hughes, McIssac or Bouchard might be good options.