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Canada loses heart-breaker in quarter-finals to Finland

Chris Mast

 

Russia, the United States, Finland and Switzerland are all that remain on the road to gold at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship, scoring victories on an eventful Quarter-Final Wednesday in Vancouver and Victoria, BC.

FINLAND 2, CANADA 1 – OT
Canada’s pursuit of a second straight gold medal at the World Juniors came to a disappointing end on Wednesday as Toni Utunen scored 5:17 into overtime to give Finland a 2-1 victory at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.

Canada led 1-0 until the final minute of regulation when former Swift Current Broncos forward Aleksi Heponiemi found the back of the net, doing so with 46 seconds left on the clock as Finland had six skaters on the ice with their net empty.

Buffalo Sabres prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (Sudbury Wolves) was the difference, stopping 24 of the 25 shots he faced including an overtime penalty shot attempt off the stick of Canadian captain Maxime Comtois (Drummondville Voltigeurs).

Defenceman Ian Mitchell scored Canada’s lone goal 1:30 into the second period, getting assists from Sault Ste. Marie Greyhound teammates Barrett Hayton and Morgan Frost.

Vancouver Canucks prospect Michael DiPietro (Ottawa 67’s) made 32 saves for Canada as they were outshot 34-25 and will come away empty-handed without a medal on home soil for the first time in Word Junior Championship history.

Frost led Canada in scoring, ending Wednesday’s action tied for the tournament lead with eight points (4-4–8) through five games. Comtois (5-1–6) and Cody Glass (Portland Winterhawks, 2-4–6) trailed close behind with six points each.

Finland advances to Friday’s Semi-Final while Canada wraps up the 2019 World Juniors with a 3-2 record, placing sixth.

GAME CENTRE

Here’s a look at how current Western Hockey League players on international teams fared in play Wednesday:

Czech Republic: 3-1 L vs. United States, Eliminated
F Krystof Hrabik, Tri-City Americans: Held off scoresheet
D Filip Kral, Spokane Chiefs: Held off scoresheet
G Jiri Patera, Brandon Wheat Kings: Did not play

Denmark: 4-3 L vs. Kazakhstan in relegation series
F Phillip Schultz, Victoria Royals: 1 point (1A)
G Mads Sogaard, Medicine Hat Tigers: 15 saves

Russia: 8-3 W vs. Slovakia, Advance to semifinals
D Alexander Alexeyev, Red Deer Rebels: 2 points (1G-1A)

Slovakia: 8-3 L vs. Russia, Eliminated
F Andrej Kukuca, Seattle Thunderbirds: Held off scoresheet
F Milos Roman, Vancouver Giants: 1 point (1G)

 

For full coverage of the 2019 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship visit IIHF.com and HockeyCanada.ca.

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