Slovakia, Finland, Russia pick up wins to kick off world juniors from Edmonton

Vasili Ponomaryov scored twice for the Russians as they defeated the Americans 5-3 in their tournament opening game at the world junior hockey championship.

Canada opens tournament Saturday against Germany

Slovakia goalie Simon Latkoczy makes a save during the third period of his team's 1-0 win over Switzerland at the world juniors on Friday. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

Vasili Ponomaryov scored twice for the Russians as they defeated the Americans 5-3 in their tournament opening game at the world junior hockey championship.

After both teams scored in the first period, the Russians scored three goals and ended the second with a 4-1 lead. The scoreline would lead to the Americans pulling goaltender Spencer Knight.

Knight, a first-round pick of the Florida Panthers in 2019, allowed four goals on 12 shots before making way for Dustin Wolf before period's end.

The Americans attempted a comeback in the third period with goals from John Farinacci and Trevor Zegras to bring to deficit to one goal.

But an empty net goal from Yegor Chinakhov with 21 seconds to play put the game out of reach for the Americans.

The Americans will play Saturday against Austria, while the Russians will return to action Sunday evening against the Czech Republic.

Slovakia shuts out Swiss

Roman Faith scored late in the third period as Slovakia beat Switzerland 1-0 in the opening game of the world junior hockey championship on Friday.

Slovakia goaltender Simon Latkoczy registered the shutout, recording 28 saves. He made a highlight-reel glove save on Inaki Baragano on a Swiss power play late in the third period at Rogers Place.

Faith scored at 14:17 of the third, banging a loose puck from the slot past Thibault Fatton.

Slovakia returns to action Sunday against Canada. The Swiss play Finland the same day.

Slovakia and Switzerland lost in quarter-final action last year. Switzerland fell to Russia and Slovakia dropped a game against Canada.

Switzerland crushed Slovakia 7-2 in preliminary-round action last year.

Both teams will play their next games Sunday. The Swiss will play Finland while Slovakia will play Canada.

Balanced attack helps Finland past Germany

Ottawa Senators prospect Tim Stuetzle scored a goal and an assist for the Germans, but they fell short against Anton Lundell and the Finns as they lost 5-3.

Finland got goals from five different goal scorers, Anton Lundell, Aku Raty, Mikael Pyythia, Topi Niemela and Henrik Nikkanen in the victory.

The Germans were without nine players due to COVID-19 protocols. Three of their players will be in quarantine until Dec. 27, while five others will be quarantined until the 29th.

An additional German player tested positive yesterday and must be in quarantine until Jan. 4.

Germany will play Team Canada Saturday, while Finland will play Switzerland on Sunday.

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