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USA TODAY Sports
BUFFALO (AP) — Casey Mittelstadt got the United States off to a quick start in its title defense at the world junior hockey championship.
In other preliminary-round games, the Czech Republic upset Russia 5-4, Sweden beat Belarus 6-1 and Canada held on for a 4-2 win over Finland.
Max Jones, Kailer Yamamoto, Patrick Harper, Andrew Peeke and Dylan Samberg also scored for the U.S., which had three goals in the first nine minutes.
“We came out ready to go,” said Mittelstadt, the most recent first-round draft choice for the Buffalo Sabres. “We wanted to come out and score some goals and get our team going right away.”
Mittelstadt’s second goal gave the U.S. a 5-0 lead late in the first period.
“Every time Casey steps on the ice, we know everyone is going…