Slovakia – United States 3-7 (2-1, 1-4, 0-2)
SASKATOON – Despite a sluggish start, the U.S. earned a win in its first game at the World U20 Championship with a 7-3 decision against Slovakia in a physical affair full of big hits and minor skirmishes.
Slovakia took the early 1-0 lead when Jakub Gasparovic tipped in a shot on a power play. The goal came just 10 seconds into a five-minute advantage when USA’s Tyler Johnson was sent off with a game misconduct for a high stick to Slovakia’s Martin Stajnoch.
The lead doubled after the Americans compounded their penalty problems, giving Slovakia a two-man advantage. Martin Bakos notched the unexpected goal, giving the Slovaks the 2-0 lead just 5:33 into action. The Americans regrouped once they were back at full strength and cut the lead in half when John Carlson fired in a shot from the face-off circle.
The U.S. came out strong in the second period and quickly turned the tide, scoring three goals in the first 6:36 of the period to turn the 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead. Jeremy Morin kicked off the comeback, putting in his own rebound. Derek Stepan followed up with a tipped in puck and Matt Donovan completed the surge 1:03 later on the power play with the 4-2 goal.
Richard Panik gave the Slovaks a moment of hope when he put in the puck from the side of the crease on the power-play, but the joy was short-lived after Danny Kristo restored the two-goal U.S. lead just 40 seconds later.
An American goal 58 seconds into the third period from Jordan Schroeder set the tone for the remainder of the game as the 6-3 lead was simply too much for the Slovaks to overcome. One last goal from Jeremy D’Amigo brought the final to 7-3.
The U.S. takes on Switzerland tomorrow, while Slovakia faces Latvia.
Latvia – Canada 0-16 (0-5, 0-6, 0-5)
SASKATOON – Host Canada kicked off its World U20 title defence in grand fashion with a 16-0 drubbing of Latvia in front of an enthusiastic home crowd of 12,468.
The eighth-seeded Latvians had no chance from the first puck drop as Gabriel Bourque scored just 36 seconds into action. A pair of power-play goals took the Canadian lead up to 3-0 in a six-minute span. The 3-0 lead was the end of Latvian goaltender Raimonds Ermics’ game. He was replaced by Janis Kalnins midway through the period.
Kalnins didn’t fare much better, surrendering another pair of goals before the end of the first period, bringing the damage to 5-0.
Five minutes into action, Jordan Eberle opened the second period scoring. Travis Hamonic and Nazem Kadri followed up with goals coming 1:02 apart to make it an 8-0 advantage at the game’s midway mark. The lead was bumped to double digits in the waning moments of the period when Canada poured in three goals in a 1:47 span.
The third period was much of the same as Canada dominated the offensive zone and put in another five goals to bring the final to 16-0. Bourque paced all players with three goals and four assists, while Brandon Kozun had five points. He tied the Canadian single-game record. Dave Andreychuk also tallied seven points in one game in 1985, as did Mike Cammalleri in 2001.
Canada takes on lowest-seeded Switzerland on Monday, while Latvia has a key game against Slovakia tomorrow.