Canada – Czech Republic 8-1 (1-0, 4-0, 2-1)
SCOTIABANK PLACE – In front of a home crowd of 19,622, Canada kicked off its World Junior Championship with a 8-1 win against the Czech Republic. It was the biggest attendance in World Junior history, surpassing the 19,465 fans who attended a December 30, 1994 tilt between Canada and the Czechs in Calgary.
John Tavares was the key to the Canadian victory as the potential number-one NHL draft pick had two goals and an assist in the win. In fact, it was Tavares who pulled Canada out of a first-period slump when he scored the 1-0 goal with four seconds left in the first period. For the Czechs, the goal was a blow after playing a solid first period in an antagonistic atmosphere.
Tavares again set the tone in the second period when he notched his second goal just 2:09 into the period. Tavares followed up the pair of goals with a picture-perfect pass through the crease to Angelo Eposito who gave Canada a 3-0 lead. After that goal, the Czechs were deflated as Canada dominated the offensive zone for the rest of the period. Canada added its fourth goal when Ryan Ellis popped in the puck after a scrum down low. Tyler Ennis closed the period with a 5-0 goal at the 33:33 mark.
The fifth goal marked the end of the game for Czech goaltender Tomas Vosvrda, who was replaced by Dominik Furch. Furch let in his first goal when Chris di Domenico scored the sixth Canadian goal 2:06 into the third period. From there, the Candians cruised, putting in another two goals to make it 8-0. Jan Kana of the Czech Republic spoiled Tokarski's shutout bid with a late marker.
Canada has tomorrow off before facing Kazakhstan on Sunday. The Czechs will have a day to regroup before taking on the U.S. on Sunday.
Germany – United States 2-8 (1-2, 0-3, 1-3)
SCOTIABANK PLACE – The Americans are considered by many to be a medal contender at this year’s World U20 Championship and showed why today in their opening game, easily dispatching newly-promoted Germany, 8-2.
The Americans had early chances, but also early butterflies. It took more than half the game for the U.S. to crack the game open, thanks in large part to a heroic effort by German goaltender Timo Pielmeier.
After a few miscues, the U.S. got on the board with a two-man advantage when Colin Wilson fired in a shot from the side of the crease after getting a perfect feed from Kevin Shattenkirk.
The Americans had another great chance quickly after the goal, but Pielmeier came up with what was the first of many big saves. The effort momentarily turned the momentum to Germany’s favor. After a few good chances, Germany evened the game at one when Toni Ritter put in a floating wrist shot. But Drayson Bowman restored the one-goal U.S. lead to close the period.
A three-on-one goal from American Jordan Schroeder just 20 seconds into the second period set the tone for the next stanza. The U.S. came out of the locker room full of energy and swarmed the German net for much of the period. It was only thanks to Pielmeier’s efforts, including a key glove save on Schroeder, that the score remained close.
The U.S. broke the game open when James vanRiemsdyk made it 4-1 on a power-play with just over seven minutes left in the second period. The goal was the tipping point for the U.S., which moments later made it 5-1 after Tyler Johnson’s goal was allowed, following a video replay that showed the puck entered the net just below the crossbar.
vanRiemsdyk became the first American to score twice when he put in the sixth U.S. goal 35 seconds into the third period. Bowman followed suit with the 7-1 tally six minutes later. Bowman’s second goal prompted German coach Ernst Hofner to pull Pielmeier, presumably to rest for tomorrow’s game, in favor of Phillipp Grubauer. Grubauer fared well and held the U.S. to just one more goal, a tally from Matt Rust in the last seconds of the game. Germany's Patrick Pohl also scored a morale-boosting second goal in the period.
Tomorrow is a key game for the Germans, who face Kazakhstan in what could be an important game in the race to avoid relegation. Kazakhstan avoided relegation last year by just one place after finishing in eighth place, while newly promoted Germany is on a mission to stay in the top division. The U.S. has tomorrow off before facing the Czech Republic on Sunday.