Vancouver Sun

HEARTBREAK FOR CANADA

Finns advance with OT victory

- STEVE EWEN Sewen@postmedia.com Twitter.com/ SteveEwen

FINLAND 2, CANADA 1 (OT)

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Michael DiPietro were the second and third goaltender­s selected in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, respective­ly.

On Wednesday night, Luukkonen finished in front again.

Vancouver Canucks prospect Toni Utunen rifled a shot over the shoulder of fellow Canucks prospect DiPietro with 4:43 to go in the first overtime period to give Finland a 2-1 win over Canada in the 2019 world junior hockey quarter-finals at Rogers Arena. The win propels Finland into Friday’s semifinal matchup against surprising Switzerlan­d.

Switzerlan­d had beaten highly favoured Sweden 2-0 earlier on Wednesday in Victoria.

Luukkonen made a right pad stop on a Maxime Comtois penalty shot attempt early in overtime after Eeli Tolvanen had hooked Evan Bouchard on a breakaway.

DiPietro finished with 32 saves. Luukkonen wound up with 23 stops.

There were chants of “Di-Pietro” during the game, to go along with plenty of “Go Canada, Go” cheers from the announced crowd of 17,047.

DiPietro was a third-round pick by Vancouver two summers ago, going 64th overall to the Canucks. Luukkonen went in the second round, 54th overall, to the Buffalo Sabres.

The first goalie selected was American Jake Oettinger, who was picked in the first round, 26th overall by the Dallas Stars.

Meanwhile, Ian Mitchell opened the scoring for Canada at 1:30 of the second period, grabbing the puck on a broken play and rifling it high over Luukkonen’s glove.

Finland had beaten Canada 5-2 in the team’s final tune-up before the tournament on Dec. 23 at Rogers Arena.

POWER-PLAY PROBLEMS

Canada continued its power play struggles against Finland. Canada was 0-for-3 with the man advantage and finished the worlds 3-for18 (16.7 per cent).

Coach Tim Hunter did change the power-play formation with his first unit.

He kept with the 1-3-1, but moved Owen Tippett from the left wing wall to the bumper spot, Jack Studnicka from bumper to net front, and Barrett Hayton from net front to the left wing wall.

DiPIETRO SHINES EARLY

The Finns had the run of the play in the first period, but DiPietro looked sharp, as he has all tournament.

He got a blocker on a heavy one-timer from Eeli Tolvanen on a Finnish power play at 12:29 of the frame, and them turned away Samuli Vainionppa on a rebound at 18:20.

In the second period, DiPietro stood his ground when Tolvanen was sent in alone down the left side and thwarted his attempt to sneak one through the five-hole at 16:05 and then kicked out his pad on Valtteri Puustinen at 17:17.

Luukkonen’s best stop came with 2.9 seconds left in the second, when he got a pad on a Nick Suzuki one-timer.

LINE JUGGLING COMES UP SHORT

Hunter juggled his lines a little against the Finns, flipping Suzuki and Brett Leason. Suzuki, who had been playing centre, was moved to right wing with Hayton and Morgan Frost on an all- OHL line. Suzuki plays for the Owen Sound Attack.

Jaret Anderson-Dolan, who had been on the wing with Suzuki, moved into the middle, between Leason and Shane Bowers. Anderson-Dolan and Leason are both WHLers.

Bowers is at Boston University. He’s one of two NCAA players on Team Canada, along with Mitchell, who plays at Denver.

OFFENCE FROM DEFENCE

Mitchell’s goal was the second of the tournament by a Canadian defender, to go along with Noah Dobson’s tally against Denmark.

LEANING ON FIRST LINE

Hunter’s belief in his first line came through as the tournament progressed.

Comtois, who averaged 16:39 of ice time through the first four games of the tourney, had played 14:14 through two periods against the Finns. Tippett was at 11:12 through two periods after averaging 17:14, and Cody Glass had seen 10:06 of action against the Finns after 40 minutes after averaging 17:12 through the preliminar­y round. Defenceman Ty Smith was on the ice for 14:21. He had averaged 18:44 over four games.

 ??  ??
 ?? GERRY KAHRMANN ?? Fans react to Canada’s overtime loss to Finland in the quarter-final at the world junior championsh­ips Wednesday. Canucks prospect Toni Utunen rifled a shot home with 4:43 to go in the overtime period to give Finland a 2-1 win at Rogers Arena. Finland moves on to face Switzerlan­d.
GERRY KAHRMANN Fans react to Canada’s overtime loss to Finland in the quarter-final at the world junior championsh­ips Wednesday. Canucks prospect Toni Utunen rifled a shot home with 4:43 to go in the overtime period to give Finland a 2-1 win at Rogers Arena. Finland moves on to face Switzerlan­d.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada