UA-74833448-1 Finland Ousts Canada – Sportswave.ca
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Finland Ousts Canada

Photo Credit Laird Allan/Sportswave

Following the devastating loss on New Years Eve to Russia in a thriller the pressure was on with Canada now forced to play Team Finland in an afternoon game in front of 17,047 fans.

The hype throughout the lower mainland was full of excitement regardless of where you went or who you talked to and game tickets were in high demand.

Say’s It All

While everyone was talking about this game, the talk in the press box was the earlier game in the day in Victoria where Switzerland defeated Sweden by a 2-0 margin.

After most in the press box got over the shock it was back to focusing on the game at hand that saw Team Canada  going head to head against Finland.

Canada was going with the hot hand of DiPietro who started his journey to this level playing for in the 2015 Canada Winter Games.

Team Finland went with Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen who was up to the task in this contest facing considering that Finland was tagged with the first two minors assessed in the game.

The first was a quick 1:55 in for an accidental high stick, while the second was for a minor for closing his hand on the puck, which will drive any coach crazy.

They killed off both minors, but shortly after  they were on the PP as Canada’s Dobson was assessed a minor for Tripping managing to keep Finland off the scoreboard but allowing Finland to outshot Canada by a 11-7 margin.

Both teams came out with jump, but it was Canada that got the crowd pumped after Calahoo, Alberta’s Mitchell buried one giving Canada the early lead at 1:30 of the second.

The tempo and intensity continued with the crowd getting more vocal by the minute as Canada controlled the play through the first 40 minutes.

As the teams headed to the dressing room it was Finland that controlled the shots holding on to a 23-17 difference after two.

The third was more entertaining than the first two in part as Finland was trailing by one and continued to press eventually pulling their goalie for the extra attacker at the 2:25 mark.

Try as they might they were turned aside but the third was as entertaining as one could expect with neither team taking a penalty through twenty minutes of play.

Finland pulled the “tender” at the 18:08 mark setting up what proved to be the diagram for the tying goal forcing overtime to the dismay of those on hand.

It wasn’t until the 19:14 mark that Finland’s Heponiemi scored the tying goal sending the fans into a frenzy continuing to chant “Canada” for the remainder of the third.

Overtime was as entertaining as you could expect with both having several chances and after a missed play as well as a broken stick in the Finish zone that the game turned.

It  was Finish forward Utunen broke in beating a devastated DiPietro for the O/T winner eliminating Canada from any chance at the Gold medal.

You could not have asked for a better game in the World Junior Championships and it’s fair to mention that not everyone in the building went home happy.