Welcome to the World Junior Championships Buzz, a daily in-depth look at the 2021 tournament, which runs through Jan. 5 at Rogers Place in Edmonton. All games will be broadcast on NHL Network in the United States and TSN and RDS in Canada.
Slovakia 1, Switzerland 0: Simon Latkoczy (2021 draft eligible) made 28 saves and Roman Faith (2021 draft eligible) scored at 14:17 of the third period for Slovakia in the first game in Group A.
Faith put Slovakia ahead when he got into the slot and scored when a centering pass by Simon Nemec (2022 draft eligible) from the right corner went off Switzerland goalie Thibault Fatton (2021 draft eligible) to Faith.
Latkoczy’s biggest save came with 3:16 remaining in the third period, when he pushed across his crease to his right to get a glove on a shot by Switzerland defenseman Inaki Baragano (2021 draft eligible) from below the left face-off circle.
Switzerland had two power plays in the final 4:35 but couldn’t convert.
Patton made 31 saves.
Germany vs. Finland (6 p.m. ET): Anton Lundell (Florida Panthers) will center the top line and lead the offense for Finland. Brad Lambert, a 17-year-old forward likely to be a top five pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, will start the game on the second line and is worth keeping an eye on. Germany will have nine forwards and five defensemen in the lineup because of coronavirus issues.
Russia vs. United States (9:30 p.m. ET): This game could decide the winner of Group B. The United States, with eight players back from a sixth-place finish at the 2020 WJC, will be looking for a strong start to the tournament. This one could be a goaltending battle between top 15 NHL draft picks Spencer Knight (Panthers) of the United States and Iaroslav Askarov (Nashville Predators) for Russia.