World juniors roundup: U.S., Czechs, Swedes open tournament with victories
Americans strike twice in 3rd to beat Slovakia; David Kvasnicka nets quick OT winner vs. Swiss
The Americans waited until the third period to turn it on against Slovakia and avoid an upset.
Captain Mikey Anderson tied it 1:10 into the third before Evan Barratt scored the eventual winner a little over four minutes later for the U.S. (1-0-0) at Victoria's Save-On-Foods-Memorial Centre, where all Group B games are being held.
Barratt circled out from the corner and lifted a backhand over goaltender Samuel Hlavaj's glove from the hash marks with the Slovakian netminder screened on the play at 5:42, and the Americans held on from there.
"That game was far from perfect, but good teams have to find ways to win tough games and this team did that here tonight," said U.S. head coach Mike Hastings.
Jason Robertson was stoned twice in the second by Hlavaj to keep the game scoreless. First Robertson was stopped on a breakaway in the period's opening minute, then he was halted on a penalty shot.
American netminder Kyle Keyser made 13 saves for the win — including a stop on a penalty shot attempt from Andrej Kukuca with 6:45 to play and the Americans up a goal.
Hlavaj turned away 32 shots in defeat.
Sweden defeats Finland
And, defenceman Erik Brannstrom scored twice as Sweden toppled Finland 2-1 in the other Group B round-robin game.
Brannstrom opened the scoring in the first period and secured the victory with by stepping into a one-timer at the top of the circle on a 5-on-3 power play 3:55 into the second.
Samuel Ersson made 29 saves for Sweden (1-0-0) in his tournament debut.
Ukko-Pekka Lukkonen kept Finland (0-1-0) in it with 28 stops. Aarne Talvittie made it close with a power-play goal with 3:34 to play in the third.
Kvasnicka took a pass from Martin Kaut and put a harmless looking wrist shot through traffic that beat a screened Luca Hollenstein over his glove hand.
Kaut scored at 9:02 of the second for the Czech Republic (1-0-0) to make it a 1-1 game through 40 minutes at Vancouver's Rogers Arena, where all Group A games are being held.
Nando Eggenberger gave Switzerland (0-1-0) a short-lived 1-0 lead with a power-play goal just 1:17 before Kaut responded for the Czechs.
Lukas Dostal made 26 saves for the win, while Hollenstein stopped 25-of-27 shots in defeat.