Spokane Chiefs Kailer Yamamoto (USA) and Filip Kral (CZE) each scored a goal in opening game wins for their respective countries at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo, N.Y. on Tuesday.
Kral and the Czech Republic opened tournament’s pool play with a remarkable 5-4 upset win over perennial powerhouse Russia. Kral slapped home a shot from the point just over six minutes into the third period to give the Czechs a 5-2 lead. That goal turned out to be the game-winner as Kral and his teammates held off a late Russian comeback bid to secure the victory.
Yamamoto and Team USA cruised to a 9-0 win over Denmark to cap the first day of games in Buffalo. The Edmonton Oilers prospect found some open space on the right side, received a pass from behind the net and slid the puck under the Danish goalie to make it 4-0 under 14 minutes into regulation. The Americans went into the first intermission up 5-0 and never looked back.
Both Chiefs representatives have Wednesday off before getting right back into pool play on Thursday. Kral and the Czechs will take on Team Belarus at 9 a.m. PT while Yamamoto and Team USA will take on Slovakia at 5 p.m. PT.
For the latest on the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, including schedules and statistics, visit their website here.