Tue Jan 03 09:02pm EST
CALGARY — For a sweet spot in time, Joel Armia figured he had Sweden beat.
Earlier in the world junior championship, the Swedes' Max Friberg earned some opprobrium from fans in Calgary for riding his stick Tiger Williams-style past Switzerland's bench after scoring a shootout goal. So when Armia scored on Finland's first attempt in Tuesday's semifinal to square the shootout at one, he did the exact same celebration. Except Friberg, the next man up, he beat Finland's Sami Aittokallio for stood up as the decider in Sweden's 3-2 semifinal victory.
"That was the dumbest thing I've ever done in my hockey career," Armia, a first-rounder of the NHL's Buffalo Sabres, said. "I don't know what happened there."
A Canadian reporter said if it was any consolation, it was a nice snipe by Armia, who also scored his fifth goal of the event in the second period.
"Thanks," he said with a slight smile.
Friberg's response? "I saw it as a tribute to me," said the Anaheim Ducks draft pick, who also had the tying goal with 1:44 left in regulation.
Players 'cellys' have been an ongoing sidebar throughout the world junior. Friberg rode his stick vs. the Swiss. Czech Republic goalie Petr Mrazek did a fist pump after thwarting a Canadian penalty shot in the first period of a round-robin game, although fans in Edmonton liked his act much better when he was exulting after big saves and big goals against Team USA. The Americans were put off by Mrazek playing to the crowd, with captain Jason Zucker calling it "disgusting."
The Swedes, in contrast, said like they somehow failed to notice Armia going right by their bench in celebration.
"I don't care about it so much," Sweden captain Johan Larsson said. "Maybe you in Canada care about it."
"I don't think we were paying that much attention to it," forward Rickard Rakell added. "After the game we had a laugh about it."
For all his chagrin, Armia had little to hang his head over. He is a major reason why Finland will play for a medal on Thursday, facing either Canada or Russia for the bronze. He had a beauty strip-and-score for the second Finnish goal on Tuesday, nicking the puck from Joakim Nordstrom, slipping it between the skates of Oscar Klefbom and then beating Johan Gustafsson with a shot that he had to bank in of the near goal post.
However, Sweden, which directed 57 shots at Aittokallio, had too much in the tank to be derailed by the Finns' hot goalie and their suffocating left-wing lock.
"It's tough for us," the 18-year-old Armia said. "I've never won anything in this world juniors, so it's hard ... everyone just needs to take care of their bodies and get ready for the next game."
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet (photo: The Canadian Press).