Quintet to pursue World Junior goals

Five Buffalo Sabres prospects have been formally invited to participate in selection camps for their respective countries for the 2013 World Junior Championship. The annual IIHF event kicks off Dec. 26 in Ufa, Russia.

Joel Armia will be seeking inclusion on Finland’s U20 squad for the third straight year following a breakout performance at the 2012 tourney that saw him collect five goals and seven points en route to his country’s fourth-place finish. Recently battling concussion issues, Armia is hoping to get a few skates in with Assat of SM-Liiga prior to joining the national junior team. In 22 games with Assat this season, the 6-foot-3 winger has gathered nine goals and 13 points.

Owen Sound Attack forward Dan Catenacci has been invited by Hockey Canada to participate in their Selection Camp which takes place Dec. 11-13 in Calgary. Catenacci, who was left off the roster for the Canada-Russia Challenge over the summer, last represented his country in international competition at the 2011 U18 World Championship. Catenacci’s speed, faceoff ability, and penalty killing aptitude could blend well with his offensive wherewithal (29gp 17-26-43) as coach Steve Spott looks to round out the bottom lines.

Wisconsin’s Jake McCabe is one of nine defenseman invited to by USA Hockey to make an impression from December 16-18 in Tarrytown, NY when USA  Hockey conducts their National Junior Selection Camp. The left-handed graduate of the U.S. NTDP previously won a gold medal at the 2011 U18 World Championship. The Eau Claire, WI native has scored two goals and four points this season through the Badgers first dozen games.

Quebec Remparts centerman Mikhail Grigorenko and Saskatoon Blades goaltender Andrey Makarov, who both were key contributors at last year’s tourney, will again be tabbed for duty when host nation and defending silver medalists Team Russia holds their World Junior Selection Camp Dec. 7-20 in Novogorsk.

Grigorenko, 18, has been the main cog behind the Remparts offense with an impressive 25 goals and 46 points in 25 games. He scored two goals and five points at the 2012 tournament.

The 19-year old Makarov has appeared in every game for the Blades, posting 13 wins and two shutouts. The big-game goalie made 57 stops in last year's gold medal game as Russia was dealt a 1-0 overtime loss by Sweden.
After skating in summer camps for their respective nations, goaltender Linus Ullmark (SWE) and Logan Nelson (USA) have been left out of the running to wear their national colors.

Rochester Americans forward Zemgus Girgensons, currently nursing an upper body injury, would be eligible to join Team Latvia in Ufa if the Sabres felt it best for his development.
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