Canada's junior squad has their 3rd pre-tournament game tonight.
After handling the Swiss 8-0 and Sweden 4-1, it should be another interesting test for Canada.
The biggest storyline for the Canadian squad is still the battle between the pipes. As I type this, it's still not known if Olivier Roy or Mark Visentin will start in the game. Visentin shutout the Swiss, and looked ok doing so. He definitely wasn't spectacular. Roy was beaten once by Sweden. But he was tested far more, and responded well.
In my mind, Roy has the edge right now.
The Finns are known for their gritty and very "North American" style of play so they should bring a new challenge to the table. Although it does sound like Finland will be missing arguably their top player, Teemu Pulkkinen. It sounds like he is sick and won't be playing tonight.
High pick from last year Mikael Granlund is also hurt and won't be participating. He suffered a concussion this year in the Finnish Elite league and was supposed to be back in early December. That still has not happened.
After doing some investigating online, it sounds like these will be the lines for the Finns:
Iiro Pakarinen - Erik Haula - Mika Partanen
Toni Rajala - Joonas Nättinen - Joel Armia
Joonas Donskoi - Henri Tuominen - Julius Junttila
Teemu Tallberg - Valtteri Virkkunen - Jaakko Turtiainen
13th forward: Miikka Salomäki
Sami Vatanen - Jyrki Jokipakka
Rasmus Rissanen - Nico Manelius
Tommi Kivistö - Jesse Virtanen
Olli Määttä - Jani Hakanpää
Despite a lack of Pulkkinen, their are still a number of players to watch for the Finns.
The one I can't wait to see is Joel Armia. He has been lighting up the Finnish league as a 17 year old this year and is expected by many to be a first round pick in the June NHL entry draft. So far in 30 games this year he has 12 goals for Ässät. He's big at 6'3 and is a right handed shot on the wing. He's got an intriguing package as a player and skates well for such a big guy. He should be fun to watch in this physical contest.
There are three other NHL picks up front for Finland that have some skill: Joonas Donskoi (FLA), Joonas Nattinen (MTL) and Toni Rajala (EDM).
On defense, the team is lead by Sami Vatanen. He's a Ducks prospect. He's a bit undersized but does a whole ton of things well. He's physical and is a great offensive defenseman. Some say he might be one of the top 2-3 defenseman in this entire tournament.
Goalie Joni Ortio (CGY) is the head man in goal. He's known for being very mentally tough and if the Finns want to medal in this tournament, this guy is going to have to be the story for this team. If he falters, Avs prospect Sami Aittokallio will have a chance to step in.
As far as Canada's lines go, none have been posted that I have seen. Things were getting mixed around pretty good last game, so we can expect them to have a different look to begin this game.
It goes at 6:30 SK time on TSN2.