Eichel earns assist and scores in shootout as U.S. squeaks by Finland

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The United States opened the 2015 World Juniors today in Montreal with a 2-1 shootout victory over the defending champions from Finland.

Jack Eichel, the consensus second overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft, earned an assist (video) on the United States’ only goal in regulation play, setting up Wild draft pick Alex Tuch with a nice backhand pass from behind the net.

Eichel also scored on Finnish goalie Ville Husso in the shootout, as did Chase De Leo.

U.S. goalie Thatcher Demko stopped 28 shots in game play and allowed just one goal in the shootout.

The U.S. outshot Finland, 38-29.

A shootout/overtime victory is worth two points in the preliminary round, while a regulation victory is worth three points and a shootout/overtime defeat earns one point.

Earlier today, Russia barely got by tournament minnow Denmark, winning 3-2 in the shootout.

Host Canada takes on Slovakia tonight in Montreal.

Related: Canada enters World Juniors as 11/10 favorite; USA next at 9/4