Lee's 17 saves help U.S. to win

Updated: December 27, 2009, 12:12 AM ET
Associated Press

SASKATOON, Saskatchewan -- St. Cloud State goalie Mike Lee made 17 saves to help the United States open the world junior championship with a 7-3 victory over Slovakia on Saturday night.

John Carlson, Jeremy Morin, Derek Stepan, Matt Donovan, Danny Kristo, Jordan Schroeder and Jerry D'Amigo scored for the Americans.

Slovakia beat the Americans last year in Ottawa in the quarterfinals.

"The only way we got a chance is by [everyone] stepping up," U.S. coach Dean Blais said. "We don't have a so-called No. 1 line. We just have, hopefully, 13 good forwards with our defense contributing, also. It's huge. You got to win that first game."

After American Tyler Johnson was given a major penalty and game misconduct for high-sticking 2 minutes into the game, Slovakia's Jakub Gasparovic and Martin Bakos scored power-play goals to make it 2-0. Richard Panik also scored for Slovakia.

"You just got to battle back out there and a 'next shot' attitude is really important," Lee said. "Our team has enough talent that we're going to put goals in the net."

On Sunday, the United States will play Switzerland.

In the opening Group B game in Saskatoon, Gabriel Bourque had three goals and four assists and five-time defending champion Canada romped to a 16-0 victory over Latvia.

"That's the biggest game of my career," said Bourque, a Nashville prospect who plays for the Moncton Wildcats. "I'm so excited. I can't do better than that."

Nazem Kadri, Jordan Eberle, Patrice Cormier, Brandon Kozun and Luke Adam each scored twice, and Travis Hamonic, Adam Henrique and Brandon McMillan added goals.

Jake Allen made 10 saves for the shutout, while Canada had 66 shots on goal.

In Group B in Regina, Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson had a goal and four assists in Sweden's 10-1 victory over the Czech Republic. Anton Lander scored twice, and Jacob Markstrom made 20 saves for Sweden. In the night game, Yevgeni Kuznetsov scored two goals in Russia's 6-2 victory over Austria.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press