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Jesper Mattila – – A Versatile Defenseman

Montreal – – Jesper Mattila is a Finnish defenseman who happens to have a twin brother, his name is Julius. They both played for the U20 squad who will be returning next year after beating Latvia in the relegation round.

At 6-0, 185 pounds he’s already got nice size and strength for a defenseman. In this tournament he played on the left side on the second pairing. In his last game of the tournament, in front of a lot of NHL scouts he got pounded into the boards and went off to the trainer’s room. When he came back he had a sequence of blocked shots. That showed his toughness.

“I felt bad at the time,” Mattila revealed. “When I got back to the ice I felt good so I continued playing. It’s been a tough ride, coach got fired, I’m happy we’re still in Group A.”

As a 2017 draft eligible player, he gave scouts something to think about. He played a defensive role so he couldn’t show off some of the offense he’s been able to display overseas and in his first season of Boston College. His defensive partner was Urho Vaakanainen, who played the offensive role and will be a much higher draft pick this coming June in Chicago.

“It’s also good for me when I play against top players. My role has been defensive and that’s good for me in the future,” he added. “I play for Boston College and I play the power play there. I have a bit more of an offensive role.”

Jesper was born six minutes before Julius, have been playing hockey together for a long time and they hope to keep that going for as long as they can. Who is the more talented brother?

“Me,” Jesper said quickly. “I stop goals and that’s the most important thing in hockey (he said with a smile knowing his brother is a center).”

How will fans and media members tell them apart?

“The guys say I have a little bit of a wider face (so that’s how you tell them apart). It usually takes a week or two for new teammates to tell us apart. We’ve been playing together for 14 years. Now we both play for Boston College, that’s kind of amazing.”

Would they ever play apart?

“We have never been on a different team, so it would be weird for sure,” Jesper pondered.

They’d like to play together at the next level but Jesper knows that’s far down the road. The twins hope they can end up in the same place like the Sedin brothers. Only time will tell.

 

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