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Canada, Finland advance to world junior hockey final

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Dylan Garand made 31 saves, Kent Johnson had a goal and two assists and Canada beat the Czech Republic 5-2 on Friday to advance to the world junior hockey championship game.

Canada will face Finland — a 1-0 winner over Sweden in the second semifinal — for the title Saturday night.

“It’s exciting to be at this moment now, but the hardest work is ahead,” Garand said. “We’ve got to do the right things here, get the right rest, recovery and be ready to go.”

For Finland, Kasper Puutio scored on a second-period power play and Juha Jatkola made 23 saves. Jesper Wallstedt stopped 27 shots for Sweden.

“It’s huge,” Finland captain Roni Hirvonen said. “It’s been a dream since I was a little kid. And now it’s real. Now we’ve got to do it just one more time.”

In the opener, Logan Stankoven added goal and an assist to help Canada improve to 6-0. Connor Bedard, Mason McTavish and Joshua Roy also scored.

Stankoven has teamed with Garand for three seasons with the Kamloops Blazers in the Western Hockey League.

“He’s been steady and solid all the way through,” Stankoven said. “He’s just so focused and ready to go every game.”

Jan Mysak and David Jiricek scored for the Czech Republic. Tomas Suchanek made 22 saves in the first two periods, and Pavel Cajan stopped eight shots in the third.

“They’re a good team and they didn’t really get away from their game at all,” Stankoven said.

The Czech Republic upset the United States 4-2 in the quarterfinals Wednesday night.

The Associated Press

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