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Jeremy Smith Backstops USA To Win in WJC Opener

by Jay Levin / Nashville Predators
Predators goaltending prospect Jeremy Smith stopped 17-of-18 shots as Team USA won its opening game at the 2008 World Junior Championships on Wednesday, 5-1 over Kazakhstan.

Smith, a second round pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, is one of four Predators prospects on Team USA, along with 2006 draftees forwards Blake Geoffrion and Ryan Flynn and 2007 first round pick defenseman Jonathon Blum. Blum finished the game with three shots on goal, while Geoffrion recorded two shots on goal, and Flynn had one.

Kazakhstan opened the scoring with a power-play goal 14:46 into the game. Team USA tied the score with three seconds remaining in the opening period on an even-strength goal by James van Riemsdyk.

The US took the lead 4:58 into the second period when Rhett Rakhshani scored, followed by a Mike Carman goal 1:25 later to extend the lead to 3-1. Third period goals by Colin Wilson and Kyle Okposo closed the scoring.

Team USA, the bronze medal winners in last year’s World Junior Championships, returns to action on Friday (Dec. 28) when it faces Switzerland in the Preliminary Round. In the Preliminary Round, all 10 teams play four round-robin games against the other teams in their assigned group. The top three teams from each group qualify for the Medal Round, with the first place team earning a bye into the Semifinals and the second and third place finishers playing in the Quarterfinals Round.

Log on to for tournament updates, as well as updates on the progress of the four Predators prospects.

Team USA Schedule and Results
Preliminary Round Games   Group B
Dec. 26 vs. Kazakhstan W, 5-1
Dec. 28 vs. Switzerland 11 a.m. CT
Dec. 29 vs. Russia 3 p.m. CT
Dec. 31 vs. Finland 11 a.m. CT
Medal Round  
Jan. 2 Quarterfinals* TBD
Jan. 4 Semifinals* TBD
Jan. 5 Championship Game* TBD

* game times and opponents to be determined based on qualifying results from round-robin pool play.
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