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World Juniors: Hintz, Finland open with win; Russia cuts Gurianov

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Stars prospect Roope Hintz and Finland opened the 2016 World Junior Championship with a 6-0 win over Belarus Saturday in Helsinki.

Finland dominated play, but it wasn’t until late in the second period when the Finns scored to break a scoreless tie. They blew the game open with five goals in the third period.

Hintz, Dallas’ second-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, centered Finland’s top line with Mikko Rantanen (Colorado) and Kasperi Kapanen (Toronto) on his wings. Hintz had no points, no shots, an even rating and won 9 of 15 faceoffs in the game.

Finland takes on Russia Monday in its second game. Russia opened the tournament with a 2-1 shootout win over Czech Republic Saturday.

The big game of the day was USA vs. Canada, and the USA came out on top, 4-2. USA defenseman Louis Belpedio’s point shot deflected off a Canadian player and into the net with 3:18 left in the third period to snap a 2-2 tie and Auston Matthews, who is expected to go first overall in the 2016 NHL Draft, scored 40 seconds later to extend the lead to 4-2.

Sweden defeated Switzerland, 8-3, in Saturday’s other game.

Russia cuts Gurianov after slashing major in exhibition game

Dallas Stars prospect Denis Gurianov was among the final two players cut from Russia’s World Junior roster. Gurianov received a slashing major and a game misconduct in an exhibition game against Denmark on Thursday. Russia’s coach, Valeri Bragin, expressed displeasure about the penalty after the game and on Friday Gurianov was cut from the roster.

In an interview with, Gurianov said he paid a high price for the penalty.

“I understand and accept the decision of the coaching staff, because we were warned about the inadmissibility of violations of discipline on the ice,” Gurianov told the Russian site. “Insanely disappointing, because I wanted to play on this World Championship from the moment I started to be involved in the youth team. … I do not know what came over me in the match against the Danes, but will make every effort to continue to control myself in any game, no matter how provoked by the opponent.”

Gurianov has rejoined his KHL team, Lada Togliatti.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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