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Aug. 1, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Freshman defenseman Erik Autio (Espoo, Finland) will compete as member of Finland's national under-20 team at USA Hockey's National Junior Evaluation Camp at Lake Placid, New York, beginning Saturday, Aug. 2.
The Finnish National Team will arrive in Lake Placid Friday (Aug. 1) before competing against split U.S. squads Sunday, Aug. 3 (USA Blue) and Monday, Aug. 4 (USA White). Finland will then face a combined Team USA Thursday, Aug. 7 before concluding play against Sweden Friday, Aug. 8. All games from the National Junior Evaluation Camp will be streamed live on a pay-per-view basis at FastHockey.com.
After the USA Hockey camp in Lake Placid, Finland, which is the reigning world champion, will send its top under-20 players to the 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, to be held in Toronto and Montreal, Dec. 26, 2014-Jan. 5, 2015. If Autio is named to the roster, he will become the first Nittany Lion to play in the prestigious tournament.
A five-foot-10 blueliner, Autio represents the first Nittany Lion who exclusively trained overseas. The newcomer competed with the Espoo Blues at various junior levels since 2010-11, helping his team claim league championships in 2011 and 2014, and has been a member of the Finnish national team for his age group for several seasons.
The Espoo native, who competed for Finland at both the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and Under-18 Four Nations Tournament, helped lead his country to the bronze medal the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation World Under-18 Championship in Sochi, Russia. The standout recorded one assist and finished as a team-high plus-six in seven games.
Autio and the rest of the Nittany Lions will open their 36-game regular season at Pegula Ice Arena Friday, Oct. 10 against UConn. Penn State returns 24 student-athletes from last year's squad, including its top 18 scorers and entire goaltending corp.