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Finland nips Canada in U18 exhibition game

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The Canadian Press
4/11/2014 2:39:30 PM
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JARVENPAA, Finland -- Brayden Point of the Moose Jaw Warriors and Brendan Perlini of the Niagara IceDogs had a goal and an assist each as Canada's under-18 hockey team dropped a 3-2 exhibition loss to Finland on Friday.

The contest was the first of two exhibitions the Canadians will play before they begin defending their world under-18 hockey tournament crown Wednesday against Sweden.

It was also Canada's first game since breaking its mini training camp last week in Toronto. Head coach Kevin Dineen, who led the national women's team to Olympic gold in Russia in February, was happy with what he saw.

"You can see the skillset," Dineen said. "They were getting themselves into some quality scoring positions and were deciding they wanted to be good buddies with their new teammates and make that extra pass.

"I think you can take that as a critique but that's a sign we have some good character. We're a big, strong team. I like the way we skated in stretches of the game so that's a plus."

However, with only 11 forwards dressed for the contest, Dineen said fatigue eventually became a factor.

"We were getting a little ragged towards the end . . . we went from a fast team to a slow team quickly," Dineen said. "I think many of these players are used to playing a lot for their respective teams and sometimes that drags into shifts that are too long."

Canada split its goaltending duties, with Mason McDonald of the Charlottetown Islanders not allowing a goal the first half of the contest. Brent Moran of the IceDogs came on and allowed all three Finnish goals.

The Finns finished 1-of-5 on the power play while Canada was 0-for-5.

Dineen said the team will take Saturday off and visit nearby Helsinki before practising Sunday. Canada faces Denmark in its final pre-tournament game Monday.

"It was a good start for us," Dineen said. "We're disappointed not to get the win but at the end of it I think it was a very productive day.

"It just gives us a little clearer picture of our personnel . . . it gives us an idea of what to work on as a team."

Hockey (Photo: Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)
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