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World Junior Hockey Championship - Day 1

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

The 2015 World Junior Hockey Championship got underway on Friday in Montreal and Toronto. Four Canadiens prospects hit the ice on the opening day of the annual tournament. Here’s a look at their respective performances:

USA 2 – Finland 1 (SO) – Bell Centre

Canadiens prospects invovled
Finland: Artturi Lehkonen, LW (Selected in the 2nd Round, 55th overall in 2013)

Artturi Lehkonen was the first Habs prospect to hit the ice at the Bell Centre for the World Junior Hockey Championship this year. The Americans downed the Finns 2-1 in a shootout.

Artturi Lehkonen (Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images)

Lehkonen, the Finnish captain, formed a line with Aleksi Mustonen and Kasperi Kapanen. The left-winger played an important role on special teams, both on the power play and on the penalty kill. While he didn’t put up points in regulation time, Lehkonen was the only player to beat American netminder Thatcher Demko in the shootout.

“It definitely means a lot to play at the Bell Centre,” offered Lehkonen following the tilt. “I always imagine what it will be like playing here one day. That’s my goal, so it’s very important to me. It’s a good place to show what I’m capable of.”

The Finns registered 29 shots on goal, while the Americans fired 38 shots in goaltender Ville Husso’s direction. Husso, a 2014 draft pick of the St. Louis Blues, was stellar in goal for Finland.

Sweden 5 Czech Republic 2 Air Canada Centre

Canadiens prospects invovled

Sweden: Jacob De La Rose, C (Selected in the 2nd round, 34th overall in 2013)

In Toronto, Canadiens prospect Jacob De La Rose made an immediate impact for his native Sweden in a 5-2 victory over the Czech Republic. The Swedish captain scored the final goal of the game on a beautiful backhander, and also won 46.15 percent of his draws in the face-off circle.

Canada 8 – Slovakia – 0 Bell Centre

Canadiens prospects invovled:

Canada: Zachary Fucale, G (Selected in the 2nd round, 36th overall in 2013)
Slovakia: Martin Reway, LW (Selected in the 4th round, 116th overall in 2013)

Zachary Fucale (Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Zachary Fucale wasn’t too busy on Friday night. The 19-year-old Rosemere native stopped 12 shots to register his first shutout in front of the Bell Centre faithful in an 8-0 victory over Slovakia. Team Canada amassed 34 shots on goal during their first game of the tournament, giving the Slovaks all they could handle and then some.

It was great to play in front of our fans in Canada,” offered Fucale. “The crowd gave us a lot of energy. We felt the enthusiasm from the start. It was good for us.”

For his part, captain Martin Reway was named the Player of the Game for Slovakia.

It wasn’t easy. We didn’t want to lose, but they have a very good team this year and they’re playing at home,” explained Reway. It’s kind of difficult for us. We have to forget this and come back in our next game.

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