Finland stuns Canada in overtime in World Juniors quarter-final

Jan 2 2019, 7:39 pm

Canada’s run at the 2019 World Junior Championship came to an abrupt end on Wednesday evening, with a 2-1 loss to Finland in the quarter-final.

While the Canadians looked as if they were going to hold on to a 1-0 lead and move onto the semi-final for most of the game, Finland surprised everyone by tying it up at 1-1 with just 46 seconds left on the clock.

Worse, the goal was a bit of a fluke – a shot from Eeli Tolvanen from behind the net.

“Haha no,” was Tolvanen’s response when I asked if he meant to bank the puck in with his shot.

“I was just trying to put it on net,” he said.

“When you put it on net you’re going to get lucky and bad bounces. Today we got the lucky one.”

The four-on-four overtime that followed had fans on their feet, with Canada having some incredible chances to win. Their best came after Evan Bouchard was hooked on a breakaway, leading to a penalty shot for Canada.

Team captain Max Comtois got the call to take the shot, and his methodical approach wasn’t rewarded.

Speaking after the game, Canadian coach Tim Hunter said Comtois has been good at penalty shots in practice and he never had a second thought about choosing him to take the crucial shot.

“I think we played a solid third period. It was a goal from behind the net – that doesn’t happen very often in hockey,” said Comtois.

“I’m proud of those guys. They gave everything for the logo.”

Defenceman Toni Utunen, a Vancouver Canucks draft pick, was the overtime hero for Finland. He scored seconds after Noah Dobson’s stick broke while he was staring at an open net.

Canada was outshot 34-24, and at the end of the game the Vancouver crowd chanted for Mikey DiPietro – another Canucks draft pick – who was named his country’s player of the game, despite the stunning loss.

DiPietro made a bunch of unreal saves, including these ones.

 

The Canucks prospect talked about hearing the crowd chanting his name after the game.

“I’ve never really been about myself and although that was very cool to hear, that was something that wasn’t really on my mind and wasn’t my focus,” he said.

“The only thing that mattered was winning, but we came up short.”

Despite losing the heartbreaker, DiPietro had the following message for hockey fans in this country.

“Canadian hockey players lose and win both with dignity, pride, and professionalism, and that’s something I thought we did all tournament.”

“It was truly an honour to play for Canada.”

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