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At a Glance: World Junior Championship Opening Weekend

by Alexis Tahara / Nashville Predators

The 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championship in Montreal and Toronto got underway on Friday. Annually, the event brings together the top hockey playing nations’ best under-20 men’s players to compete, and this year, four Preds prospects, Juuse Saros (Finland), Joonas Lyytinen (Finland), Kevin Fiala (Switzerland) and Vladislav Kamenev (Russia), are taking to the ice.

With the opening weekend of preliminary round games now in the rearview mirror, let’s take a quick look at how each country is faring (teams are given three points for a regulation win, two points for an overtime/shootout win, one point for an overtime/shootout loss and zero points for a regulation loss) and how the tournament’s future Preds are performing.

Group A (Finland, Canada, United States, Slovakia and Germany)

1. Canada (six points)

* Beat Slovakia 8-0 on Friday

* Beat Germany 4-0 on Saturday

2. USA (five points)

* Beat Finland, 2-1, in a shootout, on Friday

* Beat Germany 6-0 on Sunday

3. Slovakia (three points)

* Lost to Canada 8-0 on Friday

* Beat Finland 2-1 on Saturday

4. Finland (one point)

* Lost to USA, in a shootout, 2-1, on Friday

* Lost to Slovakia on Saturday, 2-1

Juuse Saros, Goaltender (Nashville’s fourth choice, 99th overall, fourth round, 2013 Draft)

  - Started Finland’s Saturday contest vs. Slovakia, making 36 saves on 38 shots in the loss

  - Through one game played, has a .947 save percentage and 1.85 goals-against average

Joonas Lyytinen, Defense (Nashville’s sixth choice, 132nd overall, fifth round, 2014 Draft)

  - Played in both of Finland’s weekend games

  - Tallied a shot on goal in the Finn’s loss to Slovakia on Saturday

5. Germany (zero points)

 * Lost to Canada 8-0 on Saturday

 * Lost to USA 6-0 on Sunday

Group B (Sweden, Russia, Switzerland, Denmark and the Czech Republic)

1. Sweden (six points)

* Beat the Czech Republic 5-2 on Friday

* Beat Denmark 5-1 on Saturday

2. Russia (five points)

* Beat Denmark, 3-2, in a shootout on Friday

* Beat Switzerland 7-0 on Sunday

Vladislav Kamenev, Forward (Nashville’s second choice, 42nd overall, second round, 2014 Draft

  - Tallied two points (1g-1a) on Sunday against Switzerland

  - Was second on the team in shots against the Swiss (four)

  - Won 57.4 percent of his faceoffs on Friday versus Denmark and recorded one shot

3. Switzerland (three points)

 * Beat the Czech Republic 5-2 on Saturday

 * Lost to Russia 7-0 on Sunday

Kevin Fiala, Forward (Nashville’s first choice, 11th overall, first round, 2014 Draft)      

  - Is an Assistant Captain for the Swiss

  - Recorded two goals, a team high, and four shots on Saturday vs. the Czechs

  - Was named Switzerland’s “Best Player” of the game by tournament media on Saturday

  - Led the Swiss in shots (five) in their loss to Russia on Sunday

4. Denmark (one point)

 * Lost to Russia in the shootout, 3-2, on Friday

 * Lost to Sweden 5-1 on Saturday

5. Czech Republic (zero points)

 * Lost to Sweden 5-2 on Friday

 * Lost to Switzerland 5-2 on Saturday

Following the preliminary round games, which conclude on Wednesday, Dec. 31, the top four teams from each group move on to the quarterfinals, followed by the semifinals and lastly the Bronze Medal and Gold Medal games on Monday, Jan. 5.

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