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Barkov stars as Finland tops United States

Saturday, 12.22.2012 / 8:34 AM | Adam Kimelman  - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Alexander Barkov showed why he's considered one of the top players available for the 2013 NHL Draft, scoring a goal and adding two assists in the third period as Finland topped the U.S. 5-1 on Sunday in the final exhibition game for both teams heading into the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Finland scored three power-play goals in the third period to blow open what had been a one-goal game for the first two periods.

Blake Pietila scored the lone goal for the U.S. Goalie John Gibson, the likely starter when the U.S. opens the WJC on Dec. 27 against Germany, made 25 saves.

The U.S. arrived in Finland for its two exhibition games with 26 players, and will make final cuts later Sunday to get down to the final 23-player roster.

Finland led 1-0 after two periods on Robert Leino's goal at 15:47 of the first, but didn't need much time in the third to increase their advantage.

With two seconds left on a Seth Jones penalty assessed in the final minute of the second, Finland got a power-play goal from Markus Granlund 1:06 into the third. Just 1:13 later Barkov made it 3-0 when he scored from right in front of the U.S. goal.

Barkov, NHL Central Scouting's top-rated Finnish skater in its preliminary rankings of players available for this year's draft, has 14 goals and 28 points in 32 games with Tappara of SM-liiga.

Pietila made it 3-1 when he scored at 3:12 of the third, but any momentum gained was lost at the 3:40 mark when forward Stefan Matteau was given a two-minute penalty and a game-misconduct for a hit to the head. On the ensuing power play, Artturi Lehkonen re-directed Barkov's shot past Gibson to make it 4-1 at 5:02.

Another U.S. penalty, this time on Ryan Hartman, led to another Finland power-play goal, this time with Barkov setting up Teuvo Teravainen at 11:31.

The U.S. had a problem staying out of the penalty box in both of its exhibition games. They gave Finland eight power plays Sunday after allowing Sweden nine power plays in a 3-2 overtime win Friday.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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