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2019 World Juniors: Championship recap

...Toni Utunen helps Finland capture gold

by Tyson Giuriato @TysonGiuriato / Freelance writer

Toni Utunen: World Junior Champion

Utunen and Finland defeated Quinn Hughes, Tyler Madden and the United States 3-2 on Saturday evening in a World Junior gold medal game classic.

This marks the second consecutive year a Canucks prospect has won gold at the World Juniors as Jonah Gadjovich and Canada did so in 2018.

Kaapo Kakko, a potential top five pick at the 2019 NHL Draft, scored the winner with 1:26 remaining in the 3rd period, breaking a 2-2 tie.

After a scoreless 1st period, Jesse Ylonen opened the scoring with a power play marker midway through the middle stanza, while Otto Latvala made it a 2-0 Finnish lead exactly six minutes into the 3rd period.

The United States would battle back just 1:01 later as Alexander Chmelevski got them on the board, while Josh Norris found the equalizer just 1:46 later.

For the second straight game, Utunen was on the top defensive unit for Finland. He finished with a tournament-high 21:57 of ice-time, which was third most on the team. Overall, the Canucks fifth-rounder finished with one goal (the overtime winner against Canada) in seven games and averaged 15:39 of ice-time.

Utunen is eligible to return next season, the only one of the four Canucks prospects at this year's event who can.

As for the Hughes, he logged 23:58 of ice time on Saturday, including 8:57 in the 3rd period alone. He added one shot on goal and was plus-1. He finishes the tournament with two assists in seven games, plus-3 with 18 shots on goal, while averaging 22:11 of ice time per-game.

Madden played 17:19 on Saturday and had one shot on goal. In seven games, the 2018 third-rounder had three goals, one assist, and 19 shots in goal, while averaging 17:40 of ice time per-game.

Take a gold medal, two silver medals and mix in the stellar play of Michael DiPietro, who posted a 1.23 goals-against average and a 95.2 save-percentage for Canada, and it was quite the tournament for the future of the Canucks.

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