HAMILTON, ONTARIO, AUG. 30 -- Although Finland has produced some superb players, the nation of 4.9 million people never has won a hockey medal in the Olympics, World Championships or Canada Cup. After two games, it is obvious that situation will continue through the fourth Canada Cup.
Canada defeated Finland, 4-1, tonight to match the beating the United States administered in the Cup opener. Once again only the outstanding play of goalie Kari Takko, who stopped 50 shots, kept the score respectable.
Dale Hawerchuk, Rick Tocchet, Kevin Dineen and Mark Messier scored Canada's goals, most of them off Finnish errors. In an oddity, the rival captains, superscorers Wayne Gretzky and Jari Kurri for the NHL Edmonton Oilers, failed to earn a point.
Canada, which was guilty of loose play throughout, benefited from the 39-save goaltending of Grant Fuhr. The Canadians, with a victory and a tie in their first two games, could just about wrap up a semifinal berth by defeating the United States here Wednesday. Monday, the United States meets Sweden, which shocked the Soviet Union in its opener.
Play was fairly even after the first five minutes, when Canada took a 2-0 lead and seemed a threat to reach double figures. Fuhr made some excellent saves, twice foiling Mikko Makela on the finish of a three-on-two, before Dineen's goal provided breathing space.
Jari Gronstrand, faked into embarrassment on Hawerchuk's opening goal after losing his stick, was the victim on the big third goal, too, as he tried to fire a pass along the boards and out of the zone. It was picked off at the right point by Washington defenseman Larry Murphy, who fed Dineen in the near circle for a quick shot.
"I got it just inside the blue line and no one from their team was near it," Murphy said. "We had two guys open and I got it to Kevin. He did the work. It took some of the heat off us, because they were in the game and we couldn't seem to put them away."
Takko received little help from his defense and, before Tocchet scored, he would have been better left alone. Defenseman Ville Siren knocked Tocchet into Takko, who was flat on the ice when Siren's partner, Jukka Seppo, knocked the puck into his own net while trying to clear it from the crease.
Christian Ruuttu produced Finland's only goal on a power play in the second period, ending a string of 20 unsuccessful extra-man tries by the Finns.
Canada permitted numerous scoring chances and the 40 shots at Fuhr contrasted sharply with the 23 permitted by the defense-minded United States.
"We played a pretty good game, but we can play better," said Washington winger Mike Gartner, one of the few Canadians to play a sound two-way game. "We haven't played as well as we can or as hard as we can. We have to pick up our game if we're going to finish first -- and that's what we're certainly looking to do."
At least one observer thinks Canada will do just that, Finnish assistant coach Juhani Tamminen saying, "We were very shy in the first five minutes, but we came back and played very well the last 55. In my view, we lost to the team that will win the Canada Cup, so there was nothing to be ashamed about from the Finnish view."
Fuhr had a busy night, making several sensational saves and taking a solid check from Ruuttu when he wandered away from the net. Ruuttu was penalized for charging, but Canada's Normand Rochefort, who grabbed Ruuttu around the neck and tossed him like a rag doll, went unpenalized.
The Finns protested that noncall as well as several rather obvious stick fouls that went unnoticed by Vladimir Subrt, the Czechoslovakian referee. When Makela complained to Subrt after a first-period incident, he wound up receiving a 10-minute misconduct.
The Finns were not the only protesters here tonight. Toronto fans, angry because Canada cut the Maple Leafs' Wendel Clark, displayed banners that read "We want Wendel" and "What's a Canada Cup without a Maple Leaf?"