The first game today takes place in Edmonton between the United States and Finland. Based on their reception against Denmark, it’s safe to say that the crowd will be very pro-Finland, who look to rebound after getting thumped 8-1 by Canada on the tournament’s opening day. In goal for the Fins is Colorado Avalanche prospect Sami Aittokallio. He was considered the best Avalanche goalie in training camp by many observers. Jack Campbell should start in goal for the Americans.
Players to Watch
For the Americans, coming off an 11-3 victory over Denmark on Monday, here are players to keep an eye on:
-#3 Charlie Coyle. Coyle made news earlier this month for dropping out of Boston University and heading to Saint John of the QMJHL, but he’s making news on the ice as well, registering a hat trick against Denmark.
-#10 Emerson Etem. Etem can take over games single-handedly and has plenty of experience at Rexall Place having played for the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL the past 3 seasons.
#15 Jon Merrill. Merrill was very effective in the opener against Denmark, and will be counted on to support the forwards as well as play sound defence
For Finland players to watch are:
-#30 Sami Aittokallio. The goaltender has the ability to steal games.
-#9 Alexander Ruuttu. Ruuttu will be counted on to supply offense, should be fun to watch. He scored against Canada.
#20 Mikael Granlund. Granlund is the Finnish equivalent of Etem, players who can take over games single-handedly with skill. Finland needs Granlund to be effective if they have any hope of medalling.
The Finnish defence was porous with Olli Maatta, and without him someone needs to step up to prevent this from being a blowout courtesy of the Americans.
The 2012 WJHC are coming to THW. Myself and Chris Ralph have been granted full media access for the duration of the tournament, including all round robin and medal games. Together we will bring breaking news, game analysis, player interviews and stories to THW.
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