Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Armia assists as Finns get win

Joel Armia recorded a pair of power play assists Wednesday as Finland opened the 2013 World Junior Championship with a 5-1 victory over Latvia.

Armia picked up his first helper at 15:27 of the opening frame with a deceptive pass from behind the net to Miro Aaltonen, who was stationed at the post to make it a 3-1 game. Aaltonen (2+1) was named Finland's Player of the Game despite being unable to finish due to a foot/ankle injury. After the game it was learned that Aaltonen has been lost for the rest of the tourney.

Armia, who dazzled early on with excellent stick work to create his own opportunities, earned his second point of the game at 13:02 of the middle period when he crept into the faceoff circle and slung a cross-ice feed to Markus Granlund at the side of the Latvian net for an authoritative one-time finish. The assist displayed Armia's vision when given time, as he picked up Granlund rotating into scoring position before zipping the pass.

Armia's first shift of the third period saw him make perhaps his most powerful even-strength move of the game as he took the puck off the half wall, shot into slot area, and shielded a defender off with one arm while going in for a shot on goal. Following his missed shot, Armia smoked former Shattuck-St. Mary's standout and current Minnesota State freshman Teddy Bluger (PIT) with a hit from behind and was whistled for a boarding minor.

Finland returns to action Friday versus the Czech Republic.