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Saturday, January 2, 2016


HELSINKI - Mackenzie Blackwood said it all in a single expression.

When asked how he felt about the wild 6-5 quarter-final loss to Finland that eliminated Canada from the world junior hockey championship Saturday, the goaltender took a deep breath, exhaled, then loudly swore.

"Terrible,'' said Blackwood after a pause. "It's the worst thing ever, losing.

"I hate it. Just gotta learn from it and move on.''

Mitch Marner's two power-play goals in the third period weren't enough as Canada finished lower than fourth at the annual event for the first time since 1998. Canada's record in the preliminary round - a win, a shootout win and two regulation losses - left it sixth in the final standings.

Travis Konecny, Dylan Strome and Lawson Crouse also scored for Canada. Blackwood made 23 saves.

The Canadian players will make the trek back to their respective clubs Sunday while host Finland will prepare to face Sweden in Monday's semifinal.

Penalties were a problem for Canada against Finland, but they'd been an issue in the preliminary round too. Canada took nine penalties in the quarter-final, including four in the third period.

In its final preliminary round game, Canada was penalized 10 times in a 5-2 loss to Sweden.

"I think all tournament it was our downfall,'' said Marner, who had four goals and two assists in the event. "We were just playing a little too aggressive. It's a lot of stick work and stuff like that that they call (in international hockey.)

Hartwall Arena presented new challenges Saturday for Canada, which had played all four of its preliminary round games at Helsinki Ice Hall. The 8,200-seat Ice Hall was dominated by Canadian fans during the round robin, while the crowd of over 13,000 at Hartwall was split about 50-50 with competing "Suomi!'' and "Let's Go Canada!'' chants throughout the game.

The ice itself was also different. Although the Ice Hall's rink was larger than a typical NHL ice surface, Hartwall's is full Olympic size, four metres wider than the Ice Hall's dimensions. Finland has played all five of its games at Hartwall.

(Canadian Press)