The tournament opened with the Czech Republic edging Russia, 5-4, before Sweden topped Belarus, 6-1. After Canada held off Finland, 4-2, the United States met Denmark in its opening game, skating to a 9-0 shutout victory.
PRELIMINARY GAME #1: USA 9, DEN 0
Kieffer Bellows (Edina, Minn./Portland Winterhawks) and Casey Mittelstadt (Eden Prairie, Minn./University of Minnesota) each scored twice to lead the U.S. National Junior Team to its 11th straight tournament-opening win in a World Junior Championship. Forward Max Jones (Rochester, Mich./London Knights) opened the scoring and Kailer Yamamoto (Spokane, Wash./Spokane Chiefs), Patrick Harper (New Canaan, Conn./Boston University), Andrew Peeke (Parkland, Fla.) and Dylan Samberg (Hermantown, Minn./University of Minnesota Duluth) also scored in the win. Joseph Woll (St. Louis, Mo./Boston College) stopped all 17 shots he faced.
Three players on this year’s U.S. National Junior Team are making their international debuts in IIHF play at this year’s tournament, including defenseman Dylan Samberg (Hermantown, Minn./University of Minnesota Duluth), goaltender Jeremy Swayman (Anchorage, Alaska/University of Maine) and forward Max Jones (Rochester, Mich./London Knights). In Team USA’s 9-0 victory over Denmark, both Samberg and Jones scored.
LOOK AHEAD: PRACTICE AT NEW ERA FIELD
Tomorrow, the U.S. will skate outdoors for the first time at New Era Field, home of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. The practice is Team USA’s only outdoor skate ahead of its outdoor tilt against Canada on Friday, Dec. 29. Puck drop is slate for 3 pm ET and tickets are on sale now at buffaloworldjuniors.com.