Day 1 of the World Junior Championships is in the books, and we can already see how the top teams are taking shape. The United States showed off their firepower and the returning stars for Canada fought off a determined Russian squad. Sweden overpowered Denmark from the start and in what ended up as the lowest scoring match, the Czech Republic just beat out Finland. With that, let’s take a closer look at each of the games.
USA 6 - Latvia 1
A roster compiled of a third total players from Boston University showed why the Terriers have expectations of a national championship on Comm Ave. Patrick Harper got the scoring started, while Clayton Keller added two goals and Jordan Greenway nabbed one of his own. Greenway was named the player of the game for the USA after the game. Terrier and Bruins prospect Charlie McAvoy had a solid defensive game and goalie Tyler Parsons only had to make 11 saves against the Latvians. On the other side while giving up six goals, Mareks Mitens stood on his head for as long as he could, and Renars Krastenbergs tallied the lone goal for Latvia.
Sweden 6 - Denmark 1
Sabres prospect Alex Nylander started and ended for the Tre Kronor, getting the first and sixth goals in a game Sweden dominated from the start. Wild prospect Joel Eriksson Ek also scored for the Swede squad and Flyers prospect Felix Sanström made 21 saves in the victory. Blues prospect Nikolaj Krag netted the only goal for the Danes.
Czech Republic 2 - Finland 1
Winnipeg Jets draft pick Michael Spacek got the game winning goal with 1:18 to go, Bruins prospect Jakub Zboril getting a secondary assist on the tally, giving the Czech Republic a late victory over the defending WJC champions. The two teams traded goals less than five minutes apart in the first and it became a goaltending duel between Czech netminder Jakub Skarek and Finnish goalie Veini Vehvilainen.
Canada 5 - Russia 3
These two teams traded goals back and forth, but in the end, Matthew Barzal and Dylan Strome put the icing on the cake in a win for the host country Canadians. Two Flyers prospects, Ilya Samsonov and Carter Hart, went toe to toe. Samsonov gave up some tough goals for the Russians but made 32 saves, while Hart only had to face 17 shots, stopping 14 of them. Coming into the third period 3-1 in favor of Canada, both squads scored two goals each, back-and-forth, in a manner of only seven minutes.
Here are the standings after Day 1:
Sweden (1-0-0-0) - 3 pts
Czech Republic (1-0-0-0) - 3 pts
Finland (0-0-0-1) - 0 pts
Denmark (0-0-0-1) - 0 pts
USA (1-0-0-0) - 3 pts
Canada (1-0-0-0) - 3 pts
Russia (0-0-0-1) - 0 pts
Latvia (0-0-0-1) - 0 pts
The US doesn't play during Day 2, but Slovakia and Switzerland make their tournament debuts against the Czech Republic and Canada, respectively.