VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- University of Minnesota forward Blake Wheeler scored two goals to help the United States beat Finland 6-5 on Wednesday night in the world junior hockey championships.
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Wheeler, drafted fifth overall last
summer by the Phoenix Coyotes, made a pretty play on his second
goal to put the United States up 5-3 with 42 seconds left in the
second period. Wheeler took a pass from Bobby Ryan on his backhand,
neatly pulled it to his forehand, then beat goalie Karri Ramo.
Ryan, who plays for Owen Sound in the Ontario Hockey League, had
a power-play goal and two assists for the Americans (2-0 in Group A
Tom Fritsche (Ohio State), Brian Lee (North Dakota) and Kevin
Porter (Michigan) also had power-play goals for the United States.
Rob Schremp, the leading scorer in the OHL for London, added
three assists. Minnesota freshman star Phil Kessel, projected to be
the first pick in the next NHL draft, had two assists, giving him
seven for the tournament.
Mikko Alikoski, Aki Seitsonen, Lauri Tukonen, Henri Heino and
Teemu Laakso scored for Finland (0-2).
In the other Group A game at PNE Coliseum, Dustin Boyd and Steve
Downie each had a goal and an assist in Canada's 4-3 victory over
Tom Pyatt and David Bolland also scored for Canada (2-0), which
had a 4-1 lead midway through the second period. Julien Sprunger
had a goal and an assist for Switzerland (1-1), and Eric Blum and
Yannick Weber also scored.
"We've got to get better and we will get better," Canada coach
Brent Sutter said. "That being said, our opponent was a tough
opponent. At the end of a day, it's a win."
Justin Pogge made 17 saves for his second straight victory for
Canada, 16-0 against Switzerland in tournament history.
In Kamloops, Sebastian Karlsson, Johannes Salmonsson and Oscar
Hedman scored goals in Sweden's 3-2 victory over the Czech Republic
in Group B. Tomas Kana and Vladimir Sobotka scored for the Czech
Republic. Both teams are 1-1.
In Kelowna, Evgeni Malkin scored once and set up another goal in
Russia's five-goal first period in a 6-2 victory over Slovakia in
Gennady Churilov, Nikolai Lemtyugov, Enver Lisin, Ilia Zubov and
Alexei Emelin also scored for Russia (2-0). Andrej Sekera and
Stanislav Lascek scored for Slovakia (1-1).