Canada’s Dylan Cozens, centre, and teammate Alexis Lafreniere (11) react after the third goal on the United States goaltender Spencer Knight as teammates Spenser Stastney (7) and K’Andre Miller (19) look on during second period at the World Junior Hockey Championships on Dec. 26 in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Canada beat the United 6-4 in the game. (Ryan Remiorz/CP)

Canada wins against the United States in World Juniors opener

Whitehorse’s Dylan Cozens picked up an assist in the 6-4 victory

Canada started things off right at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship in the Czech Republic on Boxing Day with a comeback 6-4 win against the United States.

Leading the way for the Canadians was 2020 NHL Draft top prospect Alexis Lafreniere with a goal and three assists in the win.

Whitehorse’s Dylan Cozens finished the game with an assists and three shots on goal in 13 minutes and 58 seconds of action.

Although all ended well for Canada, things did not start that way.

The Americans struck first when Shane Pinto scored on the power play just over three minutes into the opening period.

Things got even worse for Canada later in the period when a Jared McIsaac penalty for hooking set the United States up with another power play. Arthur Kaliyev scored for the United States just over a minute in the man advantage to make the score 2-0 after the opening period.

In the second period, the Canadians came out firing and quickly played their way back into the game.

Connor McMichael scored three minutes and 31 seconds into the second, assisted by Akil Thomas and Raphael Lavoie, and Canada soon tied the game when Barrett Hayton scored just seven seconds into a power play, assisted by Lafreniere, to make the score 2-2.

Nolan Foote gave Canada its first lead of the game with just under seven minutes left in the second on a goal assisted by Ty Smith and Cozens.

Heading into the second intermission, the score was 3-2 in favour of Canada.

American Spencer Stastney took a hooking penalty near the halfway point of the final period and Barrett scored his second power play goal of the game, assisted by Lafreniere and Joe Veleno to widen the margin to two goals.

A little under two minutes later, the United States cut the lead in half when Nicholas Robertson scored to make the score 4-3 for Canada.

After Canada successfully killed off a high-sticking penalty, an interference penalty just over a minute later meant the United States had another crack at a power play.

Pinto scored his second of the game with just over three and a half minutes left in regulation to tie the game at 4-4.

The tie, however, was short-lived as Lafreniere scored the game-winning goal for Canada just seven seconds after the Americans tied the game.

Ty Dellandrea scored an empty-net goal, assisted by Lafreniere, to make the score 6-4.

Canada is back in action on Dec. 28 when the team plays Russia. The game starts at 10 a.m. here in the Yukon.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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