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World Junior Championship Roundup: Canada, Sweden, Germany Snag First Wins

Canada and Sweden both won their first games of the World Junior Championship, while Germany bounced back with an important win over Austria on the second day of action in Edmonton.

Sweden Ends Switzerland's Late-Game Comeback Effort

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It wasn't Sweden's best effort ever, but they'll be happy to kick off their tournament with a 3-2 win over Switzerland to open Wednesday's action. 

It took 36 minutes for the first goal to be scored, with Daniel Torgersson scoring a backhand from in close after grabbing the pass from Simon Edvinsson. 

Torgersson scored again just 24 seconds into the third, with Izak Rosen adding one of his own 10 seconds later to seemingly put the game out of reach for the Swiss.

Switzerland had other plays, though. Exactly one minute apart, Attilio Biasca and Dario Allenspach beat Sweden's Jesper Wallstedt to make it 3-2, striking some fear in Sweden's game. Theodor Niederbach was ejected from the game late for a dangerous hit, giving Switzerland a five-minute power play to potentially tie things up. The Swedes, though, employed a solid penalty kill, suppressing the scoring chances and holding on for the victory.

Canada Wins First Game Against Latvia

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In front of the biggest, yet very modest, home crowd at Rogers Place we've seen all tournament, Canada started their attempt at gold with a 5-2 win over Latvia.

It was hardly a walk in the park like their previous two meetings were -- a 16-0 win in 2010 and a 10-2 victory in 2017 -- but Canada's big guns still came swinging. At 7:31, Connor Bedard opened the scoring with a wrist shot that beat Patriks Berzins, capitalizing after sustained pressure by the Canadians. 

But at 18:06, Rainers Darzins surprisingly tied the game up at one apiece, beating Sebastian Cossa up high to give Latvia some momentum late in the first. Penalty trouble for the Latvians meant Canada would continue to lay on the pressure, although Latvia did get three scoring chances on the team's first penalty kill

 Eventually, Lukas Cormier beat Berzins up high after taking Joshua Roy's pass and converting on it to make it 2-1. Five minutes later, Olen Zellweger beat traffic in front of Berzins to make it 3-1. Ridley Greig scored 59 seconds after that by carrying a Latvian defender on his back before knocking in the one-handed shot between Berzins' legs and in.

Latvia was looking for reasons to celebrate, and at 44:56, after intensive pressure by the Latvians, they got what they wanted. Bogdans Hodass scored with a blast on the man advantage, beating Cossa cleanly to make it a two-goal game. Latvia continued to lay on the pressure, outshooting Canada 15-14, but William Dufour's goal with five minutes left took the steam out Latvia's sails and secured the 5-2 victory for Canada.

Blank Scores Three in Important Win for Germany

Alexander Blank

Germany capped off Wednesday's action at Rogers Place with a 4-2 win, led by three goals from forward Alexander Blank.

The win puts Germany in a good spot to make the quarterfinal early, with Austria now having to pull off a win against Sweden, USA or Switzerland at some point.

Austria did get off to a good start, though. Despite allowing the first eight shots of the game, Senna Peeters beat Florian Bugl on his team's first shot of the contest on the power play at 2:45. That lead lasted for a few more minutes until Blank set up Josef Eham near the net, knocking the disk past Sebastian Wraneschitz for the 1-1 goal.

 Austria was outshot 14-4 in the first, but scored early in the second to regain the lead. This time, Jonas Dobing's backhander seemed to have surprised Bugl and it was 2-1 all of a sudden. 

Once again, though, it didn't last long as Blank scored his first of the night at 23:37 to force a tie. At 28:49 on the power play, he converted on Justin Volek's pass, and then the two connected again for the 4-2 goal on Germany's next power play around the halfway point of the contest, the final goal of the game.

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