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Canada opens 2-0 lead on U.S. after first period

by Mike G. Morreale

The Canadian National Junior Team has taken a 2-0 lead over the United States through the first period of play between the North American rivals in Group B action of the 2013 World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia.

Canada goalie Malcom Subban made 10 saves in the first and U.S. goalie John Gibson finished with nine.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins opened the scoring for Canada with his third goal of the tournament off a quick release from the inner right circle 7:13 into the period. Following an offensive-zone draw, Jonathan Huberdeau controlled the puck along the half-boards before feeding an uncovered Nugent-Hopkins, who ripped a shot that beat Gibson low to the blocker side.

Canada extended the lead to 2-0 when Ryan Strome followed up a rebound of a Brett Ritchie wraparound attempt at 18:19. Strome beat U.S. defenseman Seth Jones to the puck in front of Gibson following Ritchie's big surge behind the American net.

Despite allowing two goals in the opening period, Gibson did make three huge stops to keep the game within reach for the United States. He stopped Kitchener Rangers teammate Ryan Murphy off a semi-breakaway attempt, denied 2013 draft-eligible prospect Jonathan Drouin on a breakaway, and turned away Mark Scheifele with a sensational left glove snare in front.

Canada's Subban also make a few scintillating stops, including one off a breakaway attempt by U.S. forward John Gaudreau with 9:15 remaining.

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