Well, that was some start to the 2011 World Junior Championship on Sunday. Canada showed its power
-- literally and figuratively -- in its win against Russia, while the U.S. showed outstanding resiliency
in never letting down against Finland.
From my snowbound basement, the thing that impressed me most about Canada was its work ethic. And to me, that was best shown by Casey Cizikas
on a first-period penalty kill. Cizikas captured the puck in the Russia end and pinned it to the wall. He lost it, got it back and pinned it again. He won battles against two Russia forwards to keep the puck deep and single-handedly kill 30-40 seconds off Russia's power play.
It also was fun to watch local boy Marcus Foligno
get off to a great start. The Buffalo native and Sabres draft pick scored Canada's first goal, and his line with Ryan Johansen
and Zack Kassian
, was very good.
For the U.S., this overtime win wasn't as dramatic as their last one -- the gold-medal game in Saskatoon in January -- but they displayed the same never-say-die attitude. Finland plays a tight defensive game and can be very frustrating to play against. However, the U.S. kept pressing and pressing. Kyle Palmieri
had a few great chances before Nick Bjugstad
won it in extra time.
was solid in goal and made all the big saves, and defenseman Justin Faulk
showed he can bomb the puck from the point for the first U.S. goal.
Today's a bit of a quieter day -- the only games are Slovakia vs. Germany at the HSBC Center and the Czech Republic vs. Norway from Dwyer Arena in Niagara. But stay close to NHL.com, as we'll have full coverage.