clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Dazzling prospects at the opening of the 2014-15 World Junior Championship

New, comments

The first day of the international tournament was jam packed with high-flying draft picks and dazzling scoring displays.

Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

If the first day is any indication, the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship is going to be a ton of fun.

The opening slate of games featured a series of early nail-biters followed by a pair of high scoring games as Russia defeated Denmark 3-2 in a shootout, the United States defeated Finland 2-1 in a shootout, Sweden bested the Czech Republic 5-2, and Canada throttled Slovakia 8-0 in the final game of the first day.

Russia 3, Denmark 2 (SO)

The opening game between Russia and Denmark was almost a gigantic upset. The Danes scored twice in the opening frame, thanks to Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Oliver Bjorkstrand and Winnipeg Jets prospect Nikolaj Ehlers, and took that two goal lead to the end of the second

Russia would not be denied forever though. San Jose Sharks prospect Nikolai Goldobin scored with :47 left in the second, and Maxim Mamin tied the game in the third. Goaltender and New York Islanders prospect Ilya Sorokin stuffed both Danish shooters in the shootout, while Goldobin and Sergey Tolchinsky of the Carolina Hurricanes system both scored to help Russia escape the opener with a win.

United States 2, Finland 1 (SO)

Team America found itself in a very early hole thanks to a physics defying own goal. Scottsdale, Arizona native Auston Matthews went to block a centering pass from Finland's Mikko Rantanen. The pass deflected off of Matthews' leg and somehow found its way past goaltender Thatcher Demko to give the Finns an early 1-0 lead.

The United States would equalize later in that period, thanks to an absolutely beautiful backhanded pass from future NHL phenom Jack Eichel to a wide open Alex Tuch, a draftee of the Minnesota Wild.

Jack Eichel WJC assist vs Finland

(Image Credit to Pete Blackburn)

Embrace it. Embrace the beauty.

The United States played steadily better hockey as the game went on, but neither side could find the back of the net in regulation or overtime. In the shootout, Eichel and Chase De Leo both scored goals, while Demko stopped both Finnish shooters to secure the victory for the Red, White, and Blue.

Sweden 5, Czech Republic 2

The game between Sweden and the Czech Republic actually was much closer than the final score indicated. The first period featured Swedish goals from Los Angeles Kings pick Adrian Kempe and Jens Looke. The Czech Republic pulled even in the second thanks to goals from Jakup Vrana, the first round pick of the Washington Capitals, and Ondrej Kase, a seventh round selection of the Anaheim Ducks.

The game was blown open off the stick of Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander, who undoubtedly felt right at home scoring in the Air Canada Centre. Sweden added two more goals in the third period from Kempe again and Montreal Canadiens prospect Jacob de La Rose to seal the regulation win.

Canada 8, Slovakia 0

This year's host nation started out the tournament with three goals in the first period. Robby Fabbri of the St. Louis Blues made it 1-0 early, followed closely by Anthony Duclair, currently of the New York Rangers. Duclair's goal came off of a beautiful pass from Arizona Coyotes forward prospect Max Domi.

(Image Credit to Pete Blackburn)

Fabbri scored again in the first, providing more than enough offense for the Canadians. Arizona fans will be happy to see that Domi helped Canada pile on with a beautiful snipe in the second period. This goal made the score 6-0.

(Image Credit to Pete Blackburn)

Canada went on to win the game 8-0, with Vancouver Canucks prospect Jake Virtanen scoring the final tally for Team Canada. Zach Fucale of the Montreal Canadiens recorded the first shutout of the tournament to cap off what has truly been a fun filled first day of the World Junior Championship.