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WJC roundup: Matthews leads U.S. past Switzerland

by Canadian Press

HELSINKI -- Auston Matthews, the likely top pick of the 2016 NHL Draft, had two goals and two assists to lead the United States to a 10-1 victory against Switzerland in a Group A preliminary-round game at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship in Helsinki Ice Hall in Helsinki, Finland.

Fellow top draft prospect Matthew Tkachuk and Christian Dvorak (Arizona Coyotes), Zachary Werenski (Columbus Blue Jackets) and Colin White (Ottawa Senators) had three-point games. The win moved the U.S. into second place in Group A with six points, three behind first-place Sweden.

Nick Schmaltz (Chicago Blackhawks), Ryan Donato (Boston Bruins) and Brandon Carlo (Boston Bruins) also scored for the U.S.

Timo Meier (San Jose Sharks) scored for Switzerland, which finished fifth in Group A with one point. Switzerland will play Belarus in the relegation round.

The U.S. finishes preliminary-round play Thursday against Denmark (9 a.m. ET; NHLN).

Finland 8, Slovakia 3: Tournament scoring leader Jesse Puljujarvi, an A-rated skater by NHL Central Scouting in its November players to watch list for the 2016 draft, had a four-point game to lead Finland in a Group B game at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki.

Puljujarvi, who has 10 points in three games, had one goal and three assists.

Finland took a 3-2 lead into the third period before breaking out with five goals to put the game away.

The host country is third in Group B with six points. Finland plays Czech Republic on Thursday to finish the preliminary round.

Sweden 5, Denmark 0: Oskar Lindblom (Philadelphia Flyers) had one goal and one assist and goaltender Felix Sandstrom (Philadelphia Flyers) made nine saves for the shutout for Sweden in a Group A game.

Sweden won its third straight game and clinched first place in Group A with nine points.

Adrian Kempe (Los Angeles Kings) opened the scoring 13 seconds into the game at Helsinki Ice Hall. Gustav Forsling (Chicago Blackhawks) gave Sweden a 2-0 lead with a power-play goal midway through the first period.

William Lagesson (Edmonton Oilers) and top 2016 NHL Draft prospect Alexander Nylander also scored for Sweden.

Sweden finishes preliminary-round play Thursday against Canada (3:30 p.m. ET; NHLN); Denmark finishes group play Thursday against the U.S. (9 a.m. ET; NHLN).

Czech Republic 5, Belarus 3: Simon Stransky, a top prospect for the 2016 draft, was one of five scorers in the victory for the Czech Republic in Group B play.

Vladislav Goncharov's power-play goal gave Belarus a 3-2 lead after two periods. But 2:06 into the third period Jiri Smejkal scored to tie the game, and 2:14 later a goal by Radek Vesely put the Czech Republic ahead for good. Defenseman Dominik Masin (Tampa Bay Lightning) closed the scoring with an empty-net goal in the final minute of the third.

Defenseman Stepan Falkovski, a C-rated player to watch for the 2016 draft, and Yegor Sharangovich also scored for Belarus.

The Czechs, with two wins and an overtime loss, are second in Group B with seven points. They play Finland to finish group play. Belarus will play Switzerland in the best-of-3 relegation round.

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