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Sabre draft picks help their teams win in World Junior Hockey

The United States had few problems earning their second win in as many games at the World Junior Hockey Championships on Wednesday night.

Team USA knocked off Slovakia, 5-2, in a game played in Toronto’s Air Canada Centre. The Americans and Team Canada have taken over the top of Group B in the tournament, as both squads are 2-0. Russia is 1-1, while Slovakia and Latvia fell to 0-2.

Buffalo Sabres’ draft choice Casey Fitzgerald, a defenseman who was the team’s third-round pick, chipped in with an assist on his team’s fifth goal of the night.

Five different players scored for Team USA. Tanner Laczynski and Colin White had first-period goals, and the Americans added three more goals in the second period to build an insurmountable lead.

In the opening game, Sweden moved to 2-0 with a win over Switzerland, which also had won its first game. The contest was played at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

Alexander Nylander, the Sabres’ first-round draft pick in 2016, had a pair of assists for Team Sweden. The first one came on the squad’s first goal, as Joel Eriksson scored at 4:13. After Jonas Siegenthaler tied the game for Switzerland less than a minute later, Lias Andersson put Sweden ahead, 2-1.

Calvin Thurkauf got that goal back for the Swiss team, as he scored the only goal of the second period. But Sweden had both of the goals in the third period to win it. Eriksson had the game-winning goal at 14:52 – with Nylander earning another assist.

Another Sabres draft pick, Rasmus Asplund, assisted on an insurance goal by Lucas Carlsson in the final three minutes.

The schedule picks up on Thursday with four games. The American team will take on Russia, while Canada will play Latvia. The other two games match Denmark and the Czech Republic along with Finland and Sweden.

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