1/3 Recap: Armia finds net; prospects play for bronze

Joel Armia continued to show his offensive potential Tuesday, netting a regulation goal and another in the shootout as Finland suffered a 3-2 loss to Sweden in the World Junior Championship semifinal. The Finns will now play for the bronze medal on Thursday against Canada, giving them an opportunity to exact revenge after the 8-1 whopping at the hands of the hosts in the tourney opener.

Armia, who was again working well beneath the goal line and getting to the front of the net, notched his fifth goal of the tournament at 15:30 of the middle frame to give Finland a 2-1 lead heading into the second intermission.



With the goal holding up well into the third, it looked as if Armia would again be the hero until Sweden's Max Friberg struck with 1:44 to play in regulation to send the game to overtime. The clubs would endure a back-and-forth affair in the 10-minute OT before entering a three-round shootout to decide who'd play for gold.

Armia came down as the Finns first shooter, making a quick fake before snapping a shot off the post to even things at a goal apiece. Armia celebrated the goal by mockingly "riding his stick" past the Swedish bench after Friberg did the same in pool play against the Swiss.



Afterwards, Armia called the move "the dumbest thing I've ever done in my hockey career"...

The 6'3 wing enters the bronze medal game with five goals on 18 shots (27.8%) to go along with two assists and a +2 rating.

In the second semifinal, Mark Pysyk sent four shots on goal as Canada couldn't cap an exciting comeback in a 6-5 loss to Russia. The Russians held a 6-1 lead after two periods before holding on for dear life in the final twenty as the Canadians exploded with four goals over a five minute stretch. Pysyk, who again manned the right side of Canada's bottom pair, executed perhaps the biggest open-ice hit of his career when he put Yaroslav Kosov on his back midway through the third. (Kosov was hunched over holding his shoulder as he left ice.) The steady stay-at-homer is one of just two Canadian skaters who've yet to register a point in the tourney.

***

In CHL play, Kevin Sundher earned an assist to extend his point streak to 10 games as Victoria was hammered by Calgary, 9-4. The subject of several WHL rumors with the January 10th trade deadline looming, Sundher also recorded his first fighting major of the year late in game when he tangled with 6'1 Brady Brassart. The six-footer is currently tied with Emerson Etem for 4th in league scoring with 61 points (22+39).

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Anonymous
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Wednesday, January 04, 2012 ×

Is effort still looking like a concern with Armia?

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Kris Baker
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Wednesday, January 04, 2012 ×

It really hasn't been a factor in my eyes. Many were critical after the Canada game, but the entire team was outplayed by a talented, pumped up squad, and he was a mere part of it. His physical play has improved since then. He's winning battles, getting to the net, and most importantly he's finishing. Five goals on 18 shots is pretty nice. As Finland got a groove going, so did Armia.

What he does with the experience is key. He was finally heating up with Assat prior to the tourney. He needs to start trending upward once he gets back. A strong finish in the bronze game should help.

I said it in the last comment as well, but it's nice knowing that Armia has another year left to play in the tourney.

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Anonymous
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Wednesday, January 04, 2012 ×

I TOTALLY AGREE. THE TALENT IS THERE. HOW BAD DOES HE WANT IT?

DOUG

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