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by Chris Ryndak / Buffalo Sabres
Cody Hodgson

On the ice, four Buffalo Sabres players are participating in the 2014 IIHF World Championship in Minsk, Belarus.

Cody Hodgson and Tyler Myers are representing Team Canada while Zemgus Girgensons is playing for Team Latvia and Jake McCabe is on Team USA.

The tournament opened on Friday with four games. Hodgson, Myers and McCabe were all in action while Girgensons and Sabres coach Ted Nolan’s Latvian team will open play on Saturday against Finland.

Team Canada fell to Team France 3-2 in a shootout. Hodgson found his way onto the scoresheet as he assisted on Brayden Schenn’s power-play goal with 14 seconds remaining in the first period. Hodgson also had an opportunity to win the game late in the third period.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare scored the only goal in the shootout and Cristobal Huet made 34 saves for the French.

According to the IIHF, it was just the second French win ever over Canada at the World Championships, dating back to 1931.

Canada is hoping for its first IIHF World Championship gold medal since 2007 and first medal of any shade since 2009. They’ll next face Slovakia on Saturday.

McCabe and the Americans took on host Belarus and skated away with a 6-1 victory. Three quick goals at the start of the second period gave the Americans a good cushion that they were able to hang on to. Defenseman Jacob Trouba scored twice for the U.S. and Tim Thomas made 19 saves to earn the “W.”

Former Sabres assistant coach Joe Sacco is serving as an assistant coach on Team USA under new Nashville Predators coach Peter Laviolette.

Another name to watch in the tournament is Germany’s Leon Draisaitl, who is expected to be a top pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. Germany’s first game is on Saturday against Kazakhstan.

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