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WORLD JUNIORS: Day 1 Coverage

Raphael Lavoie assists in Canada's win over USA, Matej Blumel scores during host Czech Republic's victory over Russia, Philip Broberg's Swedes start with OT win over Finland

by Ryan Frankson / EdmontonOilers.com

The Oilers have four prospects competing at this year's IIHF World Junior Championship in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic.

Eighth-overall pick from the 2019 NHL Draft, defenceman Philip Broberg, is suiting up for Sweden.

Also from the 2019 Draft, 38th-overall pick Raphael Lavoie is playing forward for Canada, joined by goaltender Olivier Rodrigue, who was selected 62nd overall in 2018.

The host Czechs feature forward Matej Blumel, whom the Oilers picked 100th overall at the 2019 Draft.

CZECH REPUBLIC 4 RUSSIA 3

Oilers forward prospect Matej Blumel scored as the host Czechs opened World Juniors with a huge 4-3 win over Russia.

With 14 and a half minutes remaining in the middle frame, the 6-foot, 198-pound winger cut across the high slot, fanned on his first attempt and quickly buried his next shot past the blocker of undrafted Russian netminder Amir Miftakhov to give his team a 3-2 lead.

Tweet from @narodnitym: 🚨G��L ��E��I!🚨MAT��J BL��MEL se ve 26. minut�� priot��hl kolem obr��nce a st��elou na vzd��len��j���� ty�� n��m vrac�� veden�� ��� 3:2! 💪#narodnitym #jakolev #U20CZE #WorldJuniors pic.twitter.com/pPPyakDrjS

Russia tied the game shortly thereafter, but Arizona Coyotes draft pick Jan Jenik scored the eventual game-winner late in the second to give the hosts the start to the tournament they coveted.

Blumel is playing for Pardubice in the top Czech league this season. He's the youngest position player on the roster and has two goals with an assist in 18 games.

Next up for the host Czechs is a matchup with Germany on Saturday at 7am MT.

CANADA 6 UNITED STATES 4

Fellow Oilers forward prospect Raphael Lavoie contributed to Canada's 6-4 come-from-behind win over the United States, assisting on Washington Capitals prospect Connor McMichael's goal early in the second period that cut USA's lead to 2-1.

After the Americans emerged with a 2-0 lead through 20 minutes, Lavoie received a pass from New Jersey Devils defence prospect Kevin Bahl at the attacking blueline and worked his way up the boards before finding LA Kings draft pick Akil Thomas, who put a perfect pass on McMichael's tape for the tally.

The pretty play spurred Canada on to four consecutive goals before the Americans tied it up 4-4 with just over three minutes to go in regulation. Highly-touted 2020 Draft prospect Alexis Lafreniere scored the GWG just seven seconds after the USA equalizer, though, and Canada added an empty-netter to clinch the thrilling opening day victory.

Lavoie has 18 goals and 26 assists in 30 games to lead the QMJHL's Halifax Mooseheads in scoring this season.

Olivier Rodrigue did not dress for Canada on Thursday, as fellow netminder and 2020 Draft prospect Nicolas Daws made 28 saves for the win while St. Louis Blues draft pick Joel Hofer was the backup.

Canada's next preliminary round matchup is Saturday against Russia at 11am MT.

SWEDEN 3 FINLAND 2 (OT)

Philip Broberg played 17:50 and had two shots on goal as Sweden started the tournament with a 3-2 overtime victory over Finland.

Carolina Hurricanes prospect Patrik Puistola gave Finland a 1-0 lead through 20 minutes, but Vancouver Canucks pick Nils Hoglander's lacrosse-style goal gave Sweden the equalizer early in the middle frame.

Undrafted Kristian Tanus put the Fins back up by a goal late in the second, but LA Kings prospect Samuel Fagemo tied it up again in the third and 2020 NHL Draft prospect Alexander Holtz tallied the sudden-death winner for Sweden.

Broberg is playing for Skelleftea in the Swedish Hockey League this season, contributing four assists in 24 games.

Sweden will look to make it back-to-back wins to start the tournament on Saturday when they face Switzerland at 11am MT.

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