Preds prospects Austin Watson
and Miikka Salomaki
were both in action on Day 1 of the 2012 World Junior Championships. Watson and Team USA picked up an 11-3 win over Team Denmark, while Salomaki and Team Finland fell 8-1 to Team Canada, the host nation for this year's tournament.
Watson had the primary assist on Team USA's third goal, an even-strength score to put the Americans up 3-1 midway through the first period. He also picked up a primary assist late in the second period as Team USA scored six straight to put the game away. Charlie Coyle recorded a hat trick to lead the American squad, while captain Jason Zucker picked up one goal and two assists. The US is off tomorrow, before facing Finland on Wednesday, Czech Republic on Friday, and Team Canada on Saturday to close out round robin play.
Salomaki was held scoreless in Finland's opener as Team Canada received a hat trick from Mark Stone, five points from Jonathan Huberdeau (1g, 4a), and four points from Ryan Strome to roll the opening game win. The Canadians led 2-0 after one period, but Finland closed the gap with a goal 1:21 into the second period. Canada answered 1:41 later and then added two more goals in the middle frame to increase the lead to 5-1, scored again 52 seconds into the third period, and cruised from there to the big win.
Team Finland is off tomorrow, before facing Team USA on Wednesday, Denmark on Friday, and Czech Republic on Saturday to close out round robin play.
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.