Russia sqeeks out a win against Slovakia to open World Juniors

Richard Wolowitz - Getty Images

It was a tougher game than they expected, but Russia still got the win.

Russia is facing a lot of pressure on home ice this year, and their top heavy lineup makes them a favourite for gold.

However just like in the Olympics in 2010, the Russians are off to an auspicious start after barely managing to beat a weak Slovakian team.

After Nikita Kucherov and Alexander Khokhlachyov opened up a 2-0 lead for Russia halfway through the game, Slovakia battled back to tie it with markers by Richard Mraz and Matus Matis.

Slovakia actually outshot Russia in the game 34-27, but Andrei Vasilevski was the difference in net with a .941 save percentage.

After Slovakia forced overtime, Albert Yarulin scored to give Russia the win.

Young stars Mikhail Grigorenko and Nail Yakupov both registered one assist in the game, and Russia will look to get a bit more scoring in their next game, against the United States on December 28th at 9:00AM EST, which we will cover of course.

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