Owen Power has hat trick, Canada wins world junior opener

Associated Press

Edmonton, Alberta — No. 1 overall draft pick Owen Power had a hat trick to help Canada open the world junior hockey championship with a 6-3 victory over the Czech Republic on Sunday night.

After scoring in the first period, Power struck twice in a 1:25 span on a two-man power play midway through the second period to give Canada a 5-3 lead in the Group A game.

Canada's Donovan Sebrango (7) celebrates a goal against the Czech Republic

Power was taken by the Buffalo Sabres with the top pick in the July draft. The 6-foot-6 University of Michigan star is the first Canadian defenseman to score three goals in a game in the event.

Earlier, Sweden beat Russia 6-3 in Group B in Red Deer, and Finland topped Germany 3-1 in Group A in Edmonton. In the late game, the defending champion United States faced Slovakia in Red Deer in Group B.

Mason McTavish, Donovan Sebrango and Olen Zellweger also scored for Canada, and Cole Perfetti had three assists. Dylan Garand made 14 saves. He signed an entry-level deal with the New York Rangers last week.

Michal Gut, Pavel Novak and Stanislav Svozil scored consecutive goals to give the Czech Republic a brief 3-1 lead in the first period. Jakub Malex stopped 30 shots.

Sweden's Theodor Niederbach scored midway through the third period to thwart Russia's comeback bid.

Sweden's William Eklund tries to get a shot past Russia's goaltender Yaroslav Askarov .

After Russia's Matvei Michkov scored twice in a 41-second span early in the third to cut it to 4-3, Niederbach beat goalie Jaroslav Askarov to restore a two-goal margin.

Oskar Olausson, Emil Andrae, Alexander Holtz, Simon Edvinson and Daniel Ljungman also scored for Sweden, and Jesper Wallstedt made 27 saves. Fyodor Svecjkov also scored for Russia, and Askarov stopped 13 shots.

“I think we played well,” said Edvinsson, the defenseman drafted sixth overall by the Detroit Red Wings this year. “We were pretty sharp and had a good mindset. The game had its ups and downs, but we were strong on defense and in front of their net as well."

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Samuel Helenius scored twice in Finland's victory over Germany. Joel Maatta also scored, and Leevi Merilainen made 23 saves. Luca Munzenberger scored for Germany, and Nikita Quapp stopped 19 shots.

Finland players celebrate a goal against Germany during second-period IIHF world junior hockey championship game action in Edmonton, Alberta, Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021.

The IIHF Council said Sunday that the same 10 teams in the top division will return for the 2023 event in Novosibirsk and Omsk, Russia. Belarus was promoted from Division IA this month, bringing the field to 11.