Calgary, AB -- Flames prospect, Markus Granlund stepped onto Scotiabank Saddledome ice for the first time on Monday night but not as a member of the Calgary Flames.
Granlund pulled on a white and blue jersey as a member of Team Finland in the pre-tournament contest as a warm-up to the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship. Team Canada would come out victors edging Finland 3-1.
“It was a lot of fun. It was really exciting in front of the Calgary crowd with a great organization like Calgary,” Granlund said through the translation of Finland Team Host, Sami Ruohid.
Though held off the scoresheet, Granlund stood out early on, particularly on special teams. He spent the pre-competition matchup skating on the same line as his brother, Mikael and Teemu Pulkkinen.
“I play with my brother during the regular season but to be in a tournament like this is great,” added Granlund.
The first goal of the game came on the powerplay for Finland, with five minutes remaining in the first frame. A point shot from Pulkkinen found its way through heavy traffic in front of the Canada net and past goaltender Mark Visentin.
It would take until the six-minute mark of the second frame for Canada to solve Finnish netminder, Christopher Gibson. A pass from Brett Connolly would find Boone Jenner breaking fast to the net. From there, he would make no mistake wiring it through on the five-hole to even up the game.
Just under seven minutes later, WHL point leader Mark Stone would try once and then try again, picking up his own rebound and cashing it in to take the 2-1 lead for Canada. Jaden Schwartz and Dougie Hamilton would pick up the assists.
Brendan Gallagher would add one for insurance with 1:39 remaining in the third period as he battled in the blue paint to tap in the rebound.
“It felt pretty good. I had lots of opportunities to score goals. It was a good warm-up game. With the first game out of the way now, I feel good about going into the next game against Canada,” said Granlund.
This matchup is a window into the first game of the preliminary round where Canada will play Finland on December 26th at 1:30pm in Edmonton.