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WORLD JUNIORS: Day 1 Recap

Canada tops USA, Switzerland defeats Kazahkstan, Sweden beats Finland and Czech Republic upsets Russia

by Amanda Stein amandacstein / NewJerseyDevils.com

The Devils have four prospects at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship. We have regular updates each day on each one: Ty Smith and Kevin Bahl (Canada), Daniil Misyul (Russia), Nikola Pasic (Sweden) and Akria Schmid (Switzerland). Patrik Elias is also an assistant coach for Czech Republic. 

Canada 6, USA 4

Devils: Ty Smith, Kevin Bahl

It was a rivalry match to kick off the tournament for both Canada and the United States. In a rare meeting on the first day of competition, these two teams did not disappoint. The U.S. took a 2-0 lead into the second period before Canada came charging back in the middle frame with three goals, the third goal being a crucial one for Canada and one that Devils prospect Ty Smith helped complete.

On the power play, where Smith is quarterbacking the second unit, he fed a puck from the blueline to Nolan Foote whose power play marker gave Canada their first lead of the game at the 13:03 mark.

Tweet from @amandacstein: #NJDevils Ty Smith on the board with a crucial assist for Canada. pic.twitter.com/SxITBlGmKE

Smith was one of the most used defensemen in Canada's opening game, with a total of 19:13 in ice time, finishing plus-1 and had two shots on goal.

Kevin Bahl, the Devils newest defensive prospect, worked on Canada's shutdown pairing and made his presence felt in his 17:10 of ice time. He used his hulking 6-foot-7 size to lay out a couple of big hits, including one on Flyers prospect Bobby Brink. Bahl was also used in protecting Canada's 5-4 lead with less than two minutes to play in regulation.

Tweet from @amandacstein: Heyooooo check out this hit from #NJDevils prospect Kevin Bahl! 👀 pic.twitter.com/EdWGj1gAWV

Canada and the United States combined for five goals in the final 10 minutes of play, with Canada coming out on top 6-4.

Next up Smith and Bahl are back on the ice on Saturday when Canada take on Russia, in yet another rivalry match.

Switzerland 5, Kazakhstan 3

Devils: Akira Schmid

Switzerland beat Kazakhstan 5-3 to kick off the tournament, with two goals in both the first and final period. On the Swiss squad is Devils goaltending prospect Akira Schmid. He is in competition with two other goaltenders on the roster, who play within the Swiss system. For the opening game, Schmid did not dress.

Next up for Switzerland is a December 28th matchup with Sweden, a game which will feature Devils forward prospect Nikola Pasic. 

Czech Republic 4, Russia 3

Russia: Daniil Misyul
Czech Republic: Patrik Elias (assistant coach)

In what was most certainly the first major upset of the tournament came in one of the early games on Thursday. The hometown crowd helped propel the Czech squad over Russia, where the Czechs saw leads of both 2-0 and 3-2 slip away before an eventual 4-3 victory.

Devils defensive prospect Daniil Misyul did not dress for Russia.

Czech assistant coach Patrik Elias could be seen behind the bench with a big smile on his face once the clock hit zero on the third period

Instagram from @patrikeliasofficial: A o tom to je "Emoce" dnesni skvele odmakany zapas od kluku! Jedeme dal . @narodnitym That's what it's all about Emotions great job and work ethics by the boys. today. #u20wc #jakolev

Next up the Czech Republic will take on Germany on Saturday at 9:00am ET, while Russia will take on Canada that same day at 1p.m. ET.

Sweden 3, Finland 2 (OT)

Devils: Nikola Pasic

Sweden kicked things off with a rivalry match of their own facing off against Finland.

And once again, it was Sweden who skated off with the victory in overtime 3-2. The overtime goal was scored with just five seconds left on the clock and helped extend Sweden's preliminary-round winning streak to 49 games, which is a record at the World Juniors.

Devils forward prospect Nikola Pasic played a total of 15:07 for Sweden, with two shots on goal.

Sweden is the defending champion of the tournament.

Up next for Sweden is a matchup with Switzerland on Saturday at 1pm ET.

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