Canada goalie Michael DiPietro stops Finland’s Toni Utunen during second period IIHF world junior hockey championship action in Vancouver on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Heartbreak at home: Canada ousted after 2-1 OT loss to Finland

Host nation falls in quarter-final at world juniors

VANCOUVER — Toni Utunen scored 5:17 into overtime as Finland shocked Canada 2-1 on Wednesday in a dramatic quarterfinal at the world junior hockey championship.

Utunen’s teammate Aleksi Heponiemi forced the extra time with just 47 seconds left in regulation.

Ian Mitchell scored for Canada.

Vancouver Canucks prospect Michael DiPietro stopped 32 of 34 shots in net and was named the player of the game for Canada (3-0-1-1).

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 23 saves for Finland (2-1-0-2).

Canada was last ousted from the tournament’s quarterfinals in 2016 in Helsinki, also by Finland, which went on to win the gold medal that year.

DiPietro was finally beaten at 19:13 of the third period after Canadian defenceman Ty Smith fell in the corner, allowing Eeli Tolvanen to put a shot off the outside netting of Canada’s net. It rebounded back to him and Tolvanen’s second shot bounced off Heponiemi’s ankle and squeaked past DiPietro into the net.

Canada’s best chance in overtime came off a penalty shot after defenceman Evan Bouchard was hauled down.

Canada’s captain Maxim Comtois took the shot, smashing the puck into Luukkonen’s pads.

DiPietro made some miraculous saves in the first period, keeping a nervous-looking Canadian crew in the game.

Finland kept the pressure high, forcing turnovers and exploiting gaps in coverage. They outshot the Canadians 11 to seven in the first frame, but the scoreboard remained empty at the intermission.

Canada came back with more energy in the second and scored 1:30 in.

Arizona Coyotes prospect Barrett Hayton dropped to his knees to protect the puck deep in the Finnish zone and dished it out while being smothered by defenders.

Mitchell picked up the pass and quick shot off, firing a rocket in past Luukkonen to put Canada up 1-0.

Midway through the second period, Canadian captain Maxime Comtois hit Finnish defenceman Ville Heinola hard along the end boards, sending him to the ice.

Heinola crawled along the ice in pain as the play moved to the other end of the ice before he was eventually helped off by a trainer favouring his left leg.

The 17-year-old, who’s eligible for the 2019 draft, went directly to the locker-room and did not return for the third period. No penalty was called on the play.

The hit seemed to once again ignite the Finns. Minutes later, Tolvanen stole the puck and streaked down the ice for a breakaway.

DiPietro made the initial stop, then dropped flat to dave the rebound, too. The crowd of 17,047 responded with chants of “Dee-pee-et-ro!”

RELATED: Canada falls to Russia in New Year’s Eve clash

The goalie’s teammates helped out in the third frame, keeping the puck in the Finnish end for much of the period.

Finland had a pair of wins over Slovakia and Kazakhstan in the tournament’s round-robin phase, while Canada put up a trio of wins before losing 2-1 to Russia on New Year’s Eve.

The Canadians also dropped a pre-tournament match up with the Finns 5-2.

All of the teams still in the tournament will have Thursday off before the semifinals kick off in Vancouver on Friday. Finland will face Switzerland in its semifinal.

Switzerland is brimming with confidence after defeating top-ranked Sweden 2-0 Wednesday in Victoria.

Swiss netminder Luca Hollenstein shut out the Swedes, who peppered the goalie with 41 shots throughout the game.

“To us it’s very big,” said Swiss forward Luca Wyss, who scored the second goal of the game. “Everyone around talked that Sweden is going to beat us. We as a team had in our heads we can play against Sweden.”

The best previous result for the Swiss in the tournament was a bronze medal in 1998.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

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Canada goalie Michael DiPietro, front, kneels on the ice after Finland defeated Canada during overtime quarter-final IIHF world junior hockey championship action in Vancouver on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Canada’s Jared McIsaac, right, checks Finland’s Teemu Engberg during second period IIHF world junior hockey championship action in Vancouver on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Canada’s Morgan Frost, from left to right, Barrett Hayton and Ian Mitchell celebrate Mitchell’s goal during second period IIHF world junior hockey championship action against Finland, in Vancouver on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

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