HELSINKI – Louis Belpedio and Auston Matthews had back-to-back goals late in the third period as the United States beat Canada 4-2 on Saturday in both teams’ first preliminary games of the world junior hockey championship.
Colin White and Zach Werenski also scored for the Americans (1-0), while Alex Nedeljkovic made 25 saves for the win.
Matt Barzal and Dylan Strome supplied the offence as Canada (0-1) begins its title defence of last year’s world junior title. Mason McDonald stopped 21 shots in net.
Canada opened scoring five minutes into the second period. Julien Gauthier was instrumental in the play, getting a partial breakaway and then passing to Rourke Chartier. As Chartier got off a shot, Gauthier fell to the ice and slid into the boards, scrambling back toward the goal line.
The rebound went off Nedeljkovic and bounced to Gauthier, who was still on his knees from his fall. He made a heads-up play, passing the puck from his knees back to the trailing Barzal, who put the puck into the open net.
White tied it 1-1 just over 11 minutes later on assists from Sonny Milano and Christian Dvorak.