In what seemed like an impossible feat, Team Finland, captained by Penn State freshman phenom Aarne Talvitie, pulled off an incredible upset in the quarterfinals, banishing World Junior Championship host (and favorite to win) Canada from the medal round Wednesday night.
In a miraculous overtime performance, the Finns clawed back in the final minute of regulation and netted a crazy goal from behind the Canadians’ cage to knot the game at 1-1.
It took a stellar penalty shot save, a wild shot block, and a fortuitous broken Canadian stick for Finland to regain possession in OT. Then Talvitie, the New Jersey Devils’ 2017 sixth-round draft pick, fed a perfectly placed pass to teammate Toni Utunen, who buried the game-winner past the Canadian netminder, completely stunning the home crowd in Rogers Arena.
OVERTIME WINNER! FINLAND HAS KNOCKED OFF CANADA!— Hockey Daily (@HockeyDaily365) January 3, 2019
Toni Utunen (@Canucks // #130 in 2018 // @TappraOfficial) snipes one home to move FInland on to the next round!
#CAN 1 - 2 #FIN OT/FINAL pic.twitter.com/n2zp4AGtL8
That assist marked Talvitie’s fifth point (two goals, three assists) for Finland in five games at the WJC. The Finns’ next game is against Switzerland, another team that upset a medal favorite, knocking off Sweden in the quarterfinals.
Because of his success at the international level, Talvitie will officially miss the Nittany Lions’ first series back from winter break against the Minnesota Golden Gophers this upcoming weekend.