There weren't many surprises on day one of the World Hockey Championships. The teams that were expected to win did, Canada, USA, Czech Republic and Russia were all winners on the first day of the tournament and none of the games were close. Russia had the easiest time beating Italy 7-1 and the closest game was Czech Republic beating Denmark 5-2.
As Sabres fans we are really concerned with two things, how did the USA play and how did the Sabres and their prospects play. The United States shutout Latvia 4-0 and although they dominated most of the game it was pretty close most of the way. USA scored all four of their goals while on the power play. Buffalo native Patrick Kane played well, assisting on the first goal and scoring the second.
USA forward Patrick Kane scored his first-ever senior World Championship goal off a pass from Paul Martin. After accepting the pass, Kane skated slightly inside the top of the left faceoff circle and let go a wrister that beat Masalskis, putting Team USA up 2-0.
Kane would finish the game with a goal and two assists. Paul Martin added three assists.
Ales Kotalik was the only Sabre to score a goal on day one of the tournament, it's no surprise that the tally came on the power play. Kotalik scored the second Czech goal breaking a 1-1 tie en route to a 5-2 victory.
Five minutes later, Ales Kotalik stole the puck by the boards, drove to the net and beat the left-handed Hirsch on his glove side to give the Czechs the lead for the first time.
Max Afinogenov and Dmitri Kalinin both played a part in the Russians 7-1 victory against the over-matched Italian team. Afinogenov had an assist and Kalinin led all Russian players in ice time, playing 22 minutes and seven seconds while finishing with a plus three rating. Those stats are correct Sabres fans, I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried he really led the team in ice time. Derek Roy (Canada), Jason Pominville (USA) and Drew Stafford (USA) were all held off the score sheet.
The tournament continues with four more games tomorrow afternoon and evening. Sabres prospect Phillip Gogulla will be on the ice when Germany opens up with a game against Finland and Andrej Sekera will be playing for Slovakia against Norway. It will be interesting to watch these two guys play because we haven't seen Gogulla over here and Sekera will be looking to build on his solid finish to the season.