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Americans, Russians, Swedes open world junior hockey championship with wins

NHL.com @NHL

LIBEREC, Czech Republic - Kyle Okposo, the former University of Minnesota player set to sign with the New York Islanders, had a goal and an assist to lead the United States to a 5-1 win over Kazakhstan at the world junior hockey championship Wednesday.

Okposo, selected seventh overall in the 2006 NHL draft, left the Golden Gophers last week and has started negotiations with the Islanders on an entry-level contract.

Tyler Ruegsegger, James vanRiemsdyk, Colin Wilson and Mike Carman had the other goals for the U.S. Jeremy Smith of the OHL's Plymouth Whalers made 17 saves, allowing just Alexander Kurshuk's game-opening goal.

In the other Group B game, Russia beat Finland 7-4. In Group A play in Pardubice, Sweden beat Slovakia 4-3.

Johan Alcen scored the winner for Sweden with 4:57 remaining after Slovakia rallied with third-period goals from Ivan Rohac and Tomas Marcinko to tie the score 3-3.

Russia fell behind twice in the first but scored five straight goals to take control 6-2 early in the third. Marat Kalimulin was one of seven Russians to score and added three assists.

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