Canada crowned world champions after thrilling sudden-death overtime win against Finland

Canadians shoot to top of the all-time winners’ list after a tense 3-2 sudden-death, three-on-three overtime victory over the defending champions in Riga.

By Paul Rhys

Canada won their 27th Ice Hockey World Championship title with a thrilling 3-2 sudden-death victory over Finland in the final in Riga – avenging their defeat to the Finns in the 2019 tournament.

It was an astonishing turnaround for the Canadians, who had lost their first three games of the tournament.

The Finns twice took the lead, before Adam Henrique forced overtime for the Sochi 2018 bronze medallists with just over seven minutes left in the third period.

And in sudden-death, three-on-three overtime, Nick Paul broke the deadlock to send the trophy back to North America for the first time since 2016.

Earlier, the U.S. took bronze with a 6-1 victory over Germany in the third-place playoff.

The Finns were looking for their fourth Ice Hockey World Championship crown and second in a row, after beating the Canadians 3-1 in the 2019 final. The 2020 edition was scratched due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

What a thriller

Finland were looking good when Mikael Ruohomaa opened the scoring in the first period, diving on the ice to stab the puck past Darcy Kuemper.

Canada got the title back in their sights when Maxime Comtois levelled in the second, after Connor Brown's shot had cannoned off the metalwork and ricocheted into his path.

But Petteri Lindbohm's exocet low into the left of Kuemper's goal with some 14 minutes left of the game had Finland back in the driving seat as the clock ran down.

With seven minutes to go, however, a patiently-worked attack from Canada saw Brown pass to Comtois, who slipped the puck back through his legs to allow Adam Henrique to make it 2-2.

That led to a sudden-death, three-on-three overtime, with both teams having chances before the Finns won a face-off near the Canada goal but then passed straight into the path of Paul.

It gave Canada a two-on-one breakaway, with Brown and Paul exchanging passes before Paul broke Finnish hearts with the deciding score.

Canada move onto 27 gold medals in the World Championship, level with the combined total of Russia and the Soviet Union.