GOTHENBURG, Sweden — Matthijs Rousseau made 24 saves, including an incredible glove stop in the first period, while Owen Allard and MacLean Celebrini each scored twice in Canada's opening World Junior Hockey Championship with a 5-2 win over Finland on Tuesday.
Nate Danielson added a goal and an assist before Matthew Poitras and Maverick Lamoureux scored into an empty net as the annual U20 tournament began with four games in pool play.
Slovakia beat the Czechs 6-2, Sweden beat Latvia 6-0, and the United States beat Norway 4-1 in the other matches. Gavin Brindley scored twice 2:33 into the second period for the Americans, who made 22 saves from Trey Augustine.
USA coach David Karl said: I think we improved as the match went on. “And our scoring was excellent. We have some things to work on, but it's good to get a win to start the tournament.”
Canada, a two-time gold medalist looking for its first three-peat since 2009, has just one player returning from the 2023 event in Halifax.
“Unbelievable,” said Rousseau, a native of Beaubriand, Quebec. “When you grow up you see the kids of the world, it's a big thing. And now I'm here. Make a great save for the team and then we win. It makes this moment even more special.”
Canada is in Group 1 with Finland, Sweden, Latvia and Germany. The second group consists of the United States, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Switzerland and Norway.
Thousands of Canadians flocked to this city, which has a population of about 600,000 people and is located on the west coast of Sweden, to participate in the tournament. The stands were filled with red on Boxing Day.
“It's amazing to see so many fans,” Russo said. “Cheering for us on this ice, in this rink. It means a lot.”