A work in progress

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:31 PM ET

MISSISSAUGA -- Pat Quinn never has been comfortable after any game he has coached in a career that goes back 30 years.

Last night was no different.

The Canadian junior team beat Finland 7-3 backed by another three-point performance by Cody Hodgson, but Quinn knows plenty of work lies ahead. Canada has won two exhibition games with a third tomorrow night in Hamilton against Slovakia in its final preparation for the 2009 world junior championship. On Friday night, Canada will begin its run at what would be its fifth gold in a row when it meets the Czech Republic in Ottawa.

"We are not a team yet," Quinn said. "We need some development. Sometimes you get it, sometimes you don't, but we still have time.

"We keep forgetting that these are 18-, 19-year-olds who don't know a lot about the game yet as far as their development. Individually, they are pretty good. This country has won four in a row and they have done it because they have really good teamwork and have come together. We are not there yet."

Before a crowd of 5,509 at the Hershey Centre, Canada did not get revving until the third period. With the game tied 3-3, Stefan Della Rovere got the winner at 3:49 when the puck bounced off him and behind Finnish netminder Juha Metsola. Della Rovere was named the star of the game for Canada mostly because he hit everything in a blue sweater.

But through the first 40 minutes, Canada's play was careless and choppy, and Quinn will have to make his players realize that talent alone won't be enough. At this point, there's no reason to label Canada with an identity because it does not have one yet. Hustle and determination have been a big factor in every gold Canada has won at the world junior level, but last night Canada gave up too many odd-man rushes for Quinn's liking and the team has to crack down defensively.

Dustin Tokarski went the distance in goal for Canada and made 14 saves. Quinn said Chet Pickard will play against Slovakia.

Hodgson, Tyler Ennis, Brett Sonne, John Tavares, Jamie Benn and Jordan Eberle also scored for Canada.

It was a tough night for Canada defenceman Alex Pietrangelo, the fourth pick overall this past June by the St. Louis Blues. Finland's Nestori Lahde caught him flat-footed in the first period and raced in on Tokarski, beating the netminder with a forehand deke to give Finland a 1-0 lead. When Finland went up 2-1 in the second period on a goal by Tomi Sallinen, Pietrangelo got sucked into taking the Finnish player behind the net. That left Sallinen wide open for an easy score.

It is becoming clear that Hodgson, not Tavares, likely will spearhead Canada's offence. There's no doubting Tavares' vast skills, but Hodgson right now is the better all-around player. As he did against Sweden, Hodgson had a goal and two assists.

"The biggest thing is to get off to a good start with the team," Hodgson, the captain of the Brampton Battalion, said. "My job is to create offence. I have no problem (with the pressure)."


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