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Canadians ‘shocked’ into submission by in ‘game mode’ Finns

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TSN reporter Mark Masters checks in with news and notes from the World Junior Summer Showcase. Finland beat Canada 8-3 on Wednesday.

Dale Hunter isn't big on pep talks.

"Everyone likes his intermission speeches, they’re pretty short," said a smiling Liam Foudy, who plays for Hunter with the OHL Knights in London. "That’s what the guys always joke about, he's like under 10 seconds."

Hunter prefers to delegate to his assistant coaches, who will take up any issues with the players. But with Canada trailing Finland 5-0 after the first period on Thursday Hunter addressed his young group.

"It was unusual for him," said Connor McMichael, who also plays for Hunter in the OHL. "Obviously, in London we don't really lose by that much usually so you could tell he was a little upset. It was good for him to come in and be honest ... he also stayed positive and said we should stick to the things we were doing well."

There were certainly some reasonable explanations for the sluggish start. The Finnish team had already played together for a few games while most of this Canadian roster was playing for the first time at the camp after sitting out Tuesday’s win over the United States.

"They were more into game mode than us," McMichael pointed out. "We'll come out stronger next time."

But the one-sided scoreline was still somewhat jarring.

"They jumped on us early and kind of shocked us a bit," said Hunter. "Definitely a slow start. We didn’t give our goalie (Rimouski's Colten Ellis who allowed seven goals on 24 shots in the first half of the game before giving way to Alexis Gravel) much of a chance. They were coming down, back-door plays, we weren’t ready, we weren't taking our guys in front so it's a good learning curve. It's one of those games you can take a lot out of, you got a lot to teach."

Defensive-zone coverage was an issue. Discipline was also a problem as Canada was whistled six times leading to two Finnish goals.

Serron Noel led Canada with two goals, but also took a pair of penalties.

"It was a pretty rough night for me, to be honest,” the Florida Panthers prospect said glumly. "The coaches stressed before the game and throughout camp that you can’t be taking penalties, because teams like this, they're so good on the power play. So, next game we’ll have to smarten up."

"We took too many today," said Hunter, "and we'll go over it. Some of them have not played under these rules and so it’s a learning thing."

After their 8-3 loss to Finland, the Canadians admit their slow start only benefited the Finns who managed to put up five goals in the opening........