Filip Lindberg excited for opportunity with Team Finland

UMass freshman goalie selected for 2019 World Junior Championship camp

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(Caroline O’Connor/UMass Althetics)

By Ryan Ames, Assistant Sports Editor

Filip Lindberg was announced on Monday morning as one of the three netminders selected to attend Team Finland’s pre-tournament camp for the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championships.

Lindberg has appeared in four games for the Massachusetts hockey team, posting a 3-1-0 record, as well as a 1.73 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage over that span.

This year’s tournament will be held in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia with Finland’s pre-tournament slate kicking off on Dec. 19.

“I mean obviously it’s a great honor to be able to represent your country and play for your country,” Lindberg said. “I’m really excited, looking forward to it. It’s going to be a really cool experience.”

Lindberg said he will be departing for camp Dec. 15, which is four days after UMass’ last game of the semester against Yale.

“[Lindberg has] been great but he’s only played four games to this point so we were a little concerned that [since] Matt Murray played so well, that we hadn’t gotten him in enough times that [Team] Finland would be comfortable enough using him to represent the team,” coach Greg Carvel said. “But they made the right decision. He’s a really good goalie, he’s a freshman, he’s got a .936 save percentage, he deserves that shot.

“I think [Team] Finland, I think they feel they have a very strong team so I’m hoping like heck that he can play there. It’ll be great experience for him, it’ll be great for our program if he gets that experience.”

This past summer Lindberg starred for Team Finland in the World Junior Summer Showcase, playing in two games, one of which being a 4-3, shootout victory over Sweden.

Having that familiarity, especially among the rest of the roster, makes the announcement even more special for the Espoo, Finland native.

“Most of the guys are like my buddies and we all know each other, like are familiar with each other,” Lindberg said. “We’re going to be able to play really well as a team and that’s really important.”

Lassi Lehtinen and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen are the other two goaltenders listed on the preliminary roster.

Minutemen teammate Cale Makar played in last year’s World Junior tournament for gold-medal winning Team Canada, and Lindberg admitted to seeking Makar out for some tips on how to handle the switch to such a prestigious tournament.

“He gave me good advice on the tournament and stuff,” Lindberg said. “He’s a really good guy, he’s taking care of me, basically, told me what to do so I really appreciate it.”

Team Finland will announce it’s final roster on Dec. 24.

Ryan Ames can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @_RyanAmes.