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W.Pa. hockey stars pace Team USA to opening win

Whitehall's John Gibson made 19 saves in two periods during Team USA's 8-0 victory over Germany in the preliminary round of the IIHF U20 World Junior tournament Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012, in Russia. (Reuters)

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Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012, 2:26 p.m.

Evgeni Malkin and some Pittsburghers will be at odds Friday.

Host nation Russia will take on the United States at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship tournament in Ufa, Russia. NHL Network will broadcast the game live at 9 a.m., with a replay at 8 p.m.

Teams USA, Russia and Canada are in the same group. All three can advance past the preliminary round in the annual tournament that includes clubs composed of the NHL's top 20-and-under prospects.

The United States has medaled in two of the past three World Junior tournaments — claiming its second gold in 2010 and a bronze in 2011.

Team USA started strong Thursday with an 8-0 win against Germany at Ufa Arena. The margin of victory is significant because goal differential is a tiebreaker.

Whitehall's John Gibson, Team USA's No. 1 goalie, stopped 19 shots through two periods. He did not play in the third.

Forward J.T. Miller of Coraopolis scored a goal. He and Upper St. Clair's Vince Trocheck combined to win 25 of 36 faceoffs.

Malkin has not said which of the World Junior Championship games he will attend. Russia has not hosted to the tournament since 2001. Malkin, the Penguins' reigning NHL scoring champion and MVP, is playing for his hometown Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the Kontinental Hockey League during the NHL lockout.

The lockout, enacted by owners Sept. 15, has resulted in games being canceled through Jan. 14. No negotiations between the league and Players' Association are scheduled.

Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 412-380-5635.

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