Islanders hopes clash, Dufour has the last laugh

The New York Islanders had four prospects to play Monday night when Canada took on Finland. Aatu Räty, Eetu Liukas, Matias Rajaniemi and Wiliam Dufour have all adapted.

Aatu Räty remained on the front row for Finland, as he entered the competition with the second most points so far at the World Junior Championships. William Dufour was a staple on Canada’s third line, as his job was to shut down Räty.

Eetu Liukas played his usual fourth line role as Matias Rajaniemi was Finland’s seventh defender.

It was a critical game for both teams as it was the last game of the round robin, and Canada led Pool A by just one point.

After sixty minutes, Canada emerged victorious by a score of 6-3 to win Group A and remain undefeated in Pool.

Tiia Honkamaa, who covers Finland for Jatkoaikashared with me what Finnish head coach Kari Jalonen said after the loss.

“I don’t know what happened after the first five minutes,” Jalonen said. “They scored and we never got over it”

Here’s the New York Islanders’ outlook analysis of Monday night’s deal:

Guillaume Dufour

It was an interesting game for William Dufour against Finland, as he finished the game with a goal on four shots and a penalty in 15:46 TOI.

Although there was some attack from Dufour, his defensive game was on display throughout, one of his best defensive games of the tournament.

In the first period of the contest, Dufour forced turnovers, and his line dominated Aatu Räty and the dangerous Finnish front line.

In the second period, Dufour escaped after Räty lost the puck while on the power play. Dufour couldn’t beat Canadian goalie Garand.

Dufour’s penalty, a trip with four minutes left, gave Finland their third goal of the match.

Dufour’s goal was an empty-net goal, to give Finland and their fans no chance to mount what would have been a comeback for the ages.

The fact that Team Canada head coach Claude Julien sent Dufour onto the ice with the empty net showed how much he appreciated Dufour, even after picking up a costly penalty.

The same confidence is why Dufour was also there to kill penalties.

Willaim Dufour ends his round robin with two goals and three assists in four games.

Aatu Raty

The 19-year-old Finnish striker was exceptional throughout the tournament, as he entered the competition against Canada with the second-most points in the tournament in his three games.

Despite registering another point, a secondary assist, Aatu Räty ended his night with just one shot on goal in 18:55 TOI.

At first, thanks to Dufour, Räty and his line struggled to provide the offensive jolt Finland needed against the mighty Canadians.

After Finland found themselves trailing 2-0, Räty picked up his pace, carrying the puck more and found himself at the center of many long offensive changes for Finland as he showed off his skating and soft hands.

In the third period, Räty provided a solid entry that led to Finland’s third goal of the competition.

The goal was reviewed and frankly should have been disallowed as the puck went out of play earlier in the shift, but another point for Räty nonetheless.

Räty’s passing, which was on display throughout the tournament, was still strong in the losing effort, but his skating wasn’t as strong as we had seen.

Additionally, Räty struggled in the faceoff spot on Monday night, winning just 40% of their ties, just 10 for 25.

Aatu Räty finished his round robin with three goals and six assists in four games, second to Canadian Mason McTavish, who finished the round robin with seven goals and six assists.

Eetu Liukas and Matias Rajaniemi

Fourth line crusher Eetu Liukas knows his role and plays it very well.

In 13:47 TOI, Liukas didn’t take a shot on goal but picked up his first point of the tournament.

His fierce fight on the board allowed teammate Kalle Vaisanen to collect the loose puck and feed Samuel Helenius for Finland’s first goal of the competition.

With that point, every New York Islanders prospect has recorded at least one round robin point.

Matias Rajaniemi, Finland’s seventh defenseman, didn’t see much ice time in the loss. He played a total of 1:27 minutes in the contest, just two shifts.

Marco D’Amico and Nicole Shirman contributed to this piece

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