LIBEREC, Czech Republic -- Kyle Okposo, the former Minnesota
player set to sign with the New York Islanders, had a goal and an
assist to help the United States open the World Junior Hockey
Championships with a 5-1 victory over Kazakhstan on Wednesday.
Okposo, selected seventh overall in the NHL 2006 draft, left the
Golden Gophers last week, and has begun negotiations with the
Islanders on an entry-level contract.
Denver's Tyler Ruegsegger and New Hampshire's James vanRiemsdyk
also each had a goal and assist, and Boston University's Colin
Wilson and Minnesota's Mike Carman added goals. Jeremy Smith, who
plays for Plymouth in the Ontario Hockey League, made 17 saves,
allowing only Alexander Kurshuk's game-opening goal.
In the other Group B game, Russia beat Finland 7-4. In Group A
play in Pardubice, John Tavares scored twice in three-time
defending champion Canada's 3-0 victory over the Czech Republic,
and Sweden beat Slovakia 4-3.
Matthew Halischuk also scored for Canada, Steve Stamkos had
three assists, and Jonathan Bernier made 44 saves for the shutout.