Miro Aaltonen injures ankle, will miss rest of 2013 WJC

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Finns won their opener with a dominating performance against Latvia, but they lost arguably their best forward in the process.

Miro Aaltonen was possibly Finland's best player in the opening match of the 2013 World Junior Hockey Championship, but a third period collision against Latvia will force him out of the tournament early and could end his entire season.

"His tournament is over because his ankle is very bad," Finnish coach Harri Rindell told the media in Ufa, Russia, via the IIHF. "He was so depressed because he really wanted to play and he is in great shape. That's hockey, unfortunately."

Finland dominated Latvia thoroughly throughout the game, ultimately outshooting them 44-12, so to lose a player of Aaltonen's skill during what was essentially a meaningless period of hockey is even more frustrating for the medal-contending Finns. Aaltonen, a 19-year-old, had three points in the game.

The IIHF has video of the injury in their highlights package of the 5-1 Finnish victory. You can see it at 0:30 mark, but you might not want to watch over breakfast.

Aaltonen plays his club hockey with Espoo Blues in Finland's SM-liiga and, as mentioned there by TSN's James Duthie in the highlights, he could miss the rest of the season after surgery to repair the ankle. His loss puts the Finns down to 19 forwards for the remainder of the tournament. Finland beat both Canada and the United States in pre-tournament play, but after losing Aaltonen their quest for gold will be a bit more difficult.

Stick with SBNation.com's 2013 WJC hub for full coverage of the tournament. Follow our international hockey expert Bruce Peter on Twitter @puckworlds for further coverage of all the action.

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