Utunen scores OT winner
by Andrew Podnieks|03 JAN 2019
Finland's Toni Utunen (#3) celebrates with Aarne Talvitie (#25) after scoring the 2-1 OT game-winning goal against Canada.
photo: Matt Zambonin / HHOF-IIHF Images
Toni Utunen scored 5:17 into overtime to give the Finns a shocking 2-1 win over Canada. A broken Canadian stick in the Finland end gave the Finns an odd-man rush, and Utunen ripped a shot into the top corner.

"At first I thought we had a two-on-one, but then I saw another Canadian player," Utunen described. "The guy who dropped the puck to me [Aarne Talvitie] is my roommate, so maybe we have some chemistry. I think it hit a stick on the way in. It was the first goal I've scored all year, and it was huge."

Canada had a sensational chance to win at 1:14 of OT. Evan Bouchard was hooked on a breakaway, but Maxime Comtois was stoned by Ukka-Pekka Luukkonen on the ensuing penalty shot.

"I was trying to figure out what he might do, but I tried to be patient," Luukkonen said. "You just have to hold your stance, not slide back into the net. But there's not much thinking going on, and he shot it at me."

Canada goes to the airport while Finland now faces off against Switzerland in the semi-finals. This marks the first time in U20 history that Canada has failed to medal as host nation (13 tournaments).

This was the lowest scoring game between these two teams at the World Juniors since a 2-1 Finland win in 1979. Canada now can finish no higher than sixth.
Canada vs. Finland (QF) - 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship
CAN FIN 03 JAN 2019
The game went into overtime thanks to a tying goal from Finland with only 46.4 seconds left in the third period. Eeli Tolvanen's centring pass hit the leg of Aleksi Heponiemi and went in under the arm of Mikey DiPietro, who was brilliant in the Canadian cage.

"We earned the bounce," Finnish coach Jussi Ahokas said. "We played really well for 60 minutes. The biggest thing is, we had lots of chances. We've had lots of chances all tournament, but the bounces haven't come until now. It was a huge victory for our team."

"It was a lucky goal, but we were so unlucky for two periods, we deserved it," said Jesse Ylonen of the winners. "I'm very proud of my team. Every player played well, especially our goalie Ukko. He played a great game. We were nervous going into overtime, but we were confident."

"We had a few bad bounces, but their goalie had a great game," said Canada's Bouchard. "It's a really disappointing way to end the tournament."

"I think we deserved a better fate," said DiPietro. Sometimes you get the bounces, sometimes you don't, but for the game to end like that is disappointing. For our group, it's a tough pill to swallow."

Canada had the crowd on its side, but there were nerves on both sides in the opening period, one which had precious few quality scoring chances. Canada had two of the three power plays, but not a single puck crossed the goal line in the opening 20 minutes.

The Canadians came out with more jump in the second and got on the board early. It all started with a nice reverse pass in centre ice by Morgan Frost to Barrett Hayton. 

Hayton made his way into the Finland end but fell, managing to push the puck forward from one knee. The puck hit a Finnish stick and came right to defenceman Ian Mitchell in the slot. He rifled a hard shot over the glove of Lukkonen at 1:30.

Finland had more than its fair share of the puck in the period, though, and it was only brilliant goaltending from DiPietro that kept Canada in front. He robbed Tolvanen on a breakaway, and soon after made a great pad save off Valtteri Puustinen. This got the crowd in the mood to chant “DiPietro!”

Canada played more defensively in the third than it perhaps had intended, and it seemed just a matter of time before the Finns tied it. They waited until Luukkonen was on the bench, and they got lucky--but good teams make their luck.

And now, Finland will meet Switzerland in the semi-finals with a chance to go to the gold-medal game.
Canada vs. Finland QF (2019 IIHF WJC)