First rounders quiet as Canada rolls Finland

Written By Kris Baker on Tuesday, December 27, 2011 | 12/27/2011

Mark Pysyk finished +2 with two shots on goal Monday as Canada opened the 2012 World Junior Championship with an 8-1 pounding of Finland. The Sabres other prospect playing in the tournament, 2011 first-rounder Joel Armia, logged a disappointing -3 for the Finns.

Pysyk, who was paired with Jamie Oleksiak on Canada's third pair, found himself in an awkward position between the shooter and his own net when Alexander Ruuttu (son of former Sabres forward Christian) scored at 1:21 of the second to halve Canada's lead to 2-1. Aside from that, the 2010 first-rounder was steady in his own zone and made good decisions to support the play up ice.

Armia, who finished without a shot on net, showed flashes of the skill that make him the Sabres' most intriguing offensive prospect but for the most part was ineffective getting things going on Finland's #2 offensive unit. It was good to see him coming back hard late in the game (he prevented Canada from getting a ninth goal with a nice backcheck on Boone Jenner with five minutes to play), but there's no doubt that Sabres scouts want to see him competing harder for loose pucks at even strength as the tourney progresses.



Canada will next square off with the Czechs on Wednesday. Things won't get any easier for the Finns, who will look for their first tournament win by taking on a USA squad that scored 11 goals in their opening night win over Denmark.

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