Armia swaggers up for World Junior stage

Joel Armia scored the game winning goal Saturday and added an assist as Assat downed the Blues, 5-3. After the pressure of heightened expectations caused a slow start to the year, the flashy 6'3 wing is heating up with six goals and five assists in his last dozen games on the eve of the 2012 World Junior Championship.

Armia earned his first point, an assist, by tipping a shot near the paint that was immediately fired into the net by Tuomas Santavuori to gives the Aces a 3-1 lead at 5:59 of the second period.

Nearly five minutes later, Armia would pot the game winner on a power play by pouncing on a rebound in the slot for his eighth goal of the year.

The multi-point effort, his second of the season and second in his last five outings, gives the 2011 first-rounder 18 points through his first 31 games.

With Assat now breaking for the holidays, the 18-year old sniper will join Team Finalnd in preparation for the upcoming World Junior Championship. Armia will be set up to succeed at the tourney, as his soft hands and sniping ability will be surrounded by a talented flock of Finnish forwards that includes Mikael and Markus Granlund, Teemu Pulkkinen, and Joonas Donskoi. The loaded top-six could propel the Finns to a medal, making for some compelling round-robin matchups.

Armia showed promise at last year's World Juniors (one assist) before later blossoming last spring with four goals and 13 points at the U18s in Germany. There's no question he'll be counted on in the tourney to leverage his size and hands to collect goals down low. The Fins will play a couple of pre-competition games in Alberta before opening the tournament on the 26th against Canada.
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