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Sweden, Canada East start World Jr. A in style

by Mike G. Morreale
Sweden and Canada East each posted impressive shutouts on Monday on the opening day of the 2011 World Junior A Challenge in Langley, B.C.
Interestingly, in the first five years of the World Junior A Challenge, not a single shutout had been recorded before Monday's results.
Oscar Dansk, considered by many to be among the top three goaltenders eligible for the 2012 Draft in Pittsburgh, made 44 saves to lead Sweden to a 1-0 victory against three-time defending champion Team USA in the opener of Group A while Adrian Ignagni turned aside 16 shots to lead Canada East to a 5-0 decision against Czech Republic in Group B.
Dansk made 14 saves in the first period, 18 in the second and 12 more in the third to help the Swedes to just their second win ever at the tournament. The Swedes received a goal by Ludvig Nilsson with just six seconds remaining -- a snap shot off the shoulder of USA goalie Zane Gothberg (23 saves) -- in the third period to snap a scoreless tie. It marked the first 1-0 game in tournament history.
The Swedes will next faced Canada West on Tuesday (10:30 p.m. ET) while the U.S. attempts to rebound against Canada East on Wednesday (10:30 p.m. ET).
Canada East was spurred on offense by defenseman Randy Gazzola, who notched the first hat trick by a defenseman in tournament history. Gazzola of the Trenton Golden Hawks in the Ontario Junior Hockey League scored once in the first and twice in the third. Tyson Spink and Justin Danforth also scored for the Canadians, who will next face Russia on Wednesday.
Marek Langhamer made 27 saves for Czech Republic, which is making its World Junior A Challenge debut this season. The Czechs will face off against the Russians on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET).
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
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