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World Junior Championship Recap: Dec. 26

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

The 2016 World Junior Championship didn't get off to the start Canada had envisioned.

In their opening game of the tournament, the Canadians dropped a 4-2 decision to the USA at the Helsinki Ice Hall in Finland. Louis Belpedio ended up scoring the game-winner with 3:18 remaining in the third period when his shot hit Canadian defenceman Joe Hicketts and deflected into the back of the net.

Colin White, Zach Werenski, and Auston Matthews also had potted for the USA. Mathew Barzal and Dylan Strome scored for Canada.

Calgary Flames 2014 second round pick Mason McDonald stopped 21 of 25 shots on Saturday. While he was disappointed with the result, Saturday's game was very memorable.

"I felt really good out there," he told TSN. "It was a great atmosphere. All the Canadian fans that came over made it amazing. It was an experience of a lifetime. It's too bad the result didn't end up in our favour but it was fun.

"We know we're not even close to being out of it. We're just taking it one step at a time. We'll look to our next game and hope for a better result."

Defenceman Brandon Hickey, Calgary's third round pick in 2014, was held off the scoresheet and was a minus-one against the USA.

Sweden 8, Switzerland 3

Prior to the Canada-USA match-up, Flames prospect Adam Ollas Mattsson and Sweden picked up a 8-3 victory over Switzerland.

Ollas Mattsson, drafted in the sixth round of the 2014 NHL Draft, scored his first goal of the tournament in the win. The defenceman plays for Djurgårdens IF in the Swedish Hockey League, where he has one goal and four points in 22 games this season.

William Nylander, Oskar Lindblom, Dmytro Timashov (2), Rasmus Asplund, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, and Jacob Larsson also scored for the Swedes. Switzerland received goals from Tino Kessler (2) and Noah Rod.

W. Nylander left the game in the first period after taking a high hit from Chris Egli. His status for the rest of the tournament is uncertain.

Russia 2, Czech Republic 1

Maxim Lazarev scored the game-winner in a 2-1 shootout victory for Russia over the Czech Republic.

The Czechs opened the scoring in the second period when Michael Spacek netted his first goal of the tournament when he was awarded a penalty shot. Russia's Artur Lauta sent the game into extra time when he found the back of the net at the 9:09 mark of the third period. Calgary Hitmen forward Radel Fazleev picked up the primary assist on Lauta's goal.

Finland 6, Belarus 0

This year's hosts thumped Belarus 6-0 in their opening game of the tournament. Jesse Puljujarvi (2), Patrik Laine, Sami Niku, Sebastian Repo, and Mikko Rantanen scored while Finnish netminder Veini Vehvilainen pitched the shutout with 10 saves.

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