Preds prospects Austin Watson
and Miikka Salomaki
went head-to-head on Day 3 of the 2012 World Junior Championships as Team Finland scored three times in the third period to upset Team USA, 4-1. Both teams moved to 1-1-0 in the tournament with two more games remaining in round robin play.
Salomaki scored the game's opening goal 1:21 into the second period, his first goal of the tournament. A second round pick by the Preds in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Salomaki has been a steady scorer in the Finnish Elite League and is expected to play a top scoring role for Finland in this tournament.
The US tied the game 19 seconds into the third period, but Finland scored two goals in 29 seconds midway through the frame to build a lead and then sealed the win with another score with 3:33 left to play. Salomaki's normal linemate Joel Armia netted two of the three third period goals for Finland and Salomaki ended the game with a +2 plus/minus rating to go along with his goal.Austin Watson
did not figure on the scoresheet for Team USA, but had an "even" plus/minus rating and three shots on goal.
Both teams are off tomorrow before playing back-to-back games to close out the Preliminary Round. The US faces Czech Republic on Friday and Canada on Saturday. Finland faces Denmark on Friday and Czech Republic on Saturday.
Three teams from each group (Group A and Group B) advance to the single-elimination tournament. The Winner of each pool earns a bye into the Semifinals, while the No. 2 seed in Group A faces the No. 3 seed in Group B and the No. 3 seed in Group A faces the No. 2 seed in Group B in Quarterfinals action.
Pre-tournament, Canada, Finland, and the US were projected to earn the top three seeds in Group B. Group A features favorites Russia and Sweden along with Latvia, Slovakia, and Switzerland.