The preliminary round of the World Junior Championships kicked off on Saturday, and there’s plenty of Bruins representation in the 40th installment of the tournament, with seven players whose rights are controlled by Boston heading out to Helsinki.
Here are some highlights from the first weekend of play:
*The Czech Republic, seeking its first medal since 2005, is represented by the two most recent first draft picks by the B’s, in David Pastrnak (25th overall, 2014) and Jakub Zboril (13th, 2015). Daniel Vladar, who the Bruins took at 75th overall in 2015, is backing up Vitek Vanecek in goal.
The Czechs notched their first win of tournament play on Monday, a 2-0 win over Slovakia. Pastrnak, coming off a foot injury that sidelined him for two months, scored the winning goal with 3:02 remaining in the second period, with Juraj Siska in the box for tripping. Zboril, who was ejected in the first period of the Czech’s opener against Russia, a 2-1 loss, assisted on the goal. David Kase, a Philadelphia Flyers prospect, also was awarded an assist.
*Bruins prospect Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson scored a goal as Sweden hung a snowman on Switzerland, an 8-3 win, on Saturday. Karlsson, a 2015 second-round pick in his freshman season at BU, scored with 12:50 left in the second period to put the Swedes ahead, 6-2.
The stars of the win were brothers Alex and William Nylander, sons of former Bruin Michael Nylander. Alex, the younger of the duo, assisted on four goals while William opened the scoring 1:21 into the game. William was drafted eighth overall in the 2015 NHL Draft by Toronto. He has an AHL-leading 34 points (14-20) in 27 games for the Toronto Marlies. Alex is projected to be selected in the top half of the first round of the 2016 draft. His 49 points in 33 games leads the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL.
*Team USA, who hasn’t medaled since winning Gold in 2013, opened the tournament with a 4-2 win over defending champion Canada.
With the Yanks down, 1-0, BC freshman and Hanover, Mass. native Colin White scored the equalizer with 3:27 remaining in the second, the assists coming from former BC recruit Sonny Milano and Arizona Coyotes prospect Christian Dvorak. Team USA went on to score three third-period goals to seal the win.
Team USA is represented by B’s prospects Brandon Carlo, Anders Bjork, and Ryan Donato. Also on the team is Chad Krys (BU ’98 commit), Brandon Fortunato (BU), Charlie McAvoy (BU), White (BC), and Ryan Hitchcock (Yale).
The Providence Bruins emerged from the Christmas break with a pair of losses over the weekend, falling to Albany (NJ), 4-1, on Saturday before losing to Bridgeport (NYI), 4-3 on Sunday.
*Austin Czarnik scored the Bruins lone goal on Saturday, his ninth of the season. The 23-year-old now has 19 points in 24 games, ranking third on the team. Of the 18 players to appear in 20-plus games for the P-Bruins in 2015-16, he’s the lone plus player (plus-3).
*Seth Griffith factored in all three Providence goals on Sunday, with a goal and two assists. He now has a team-leading 27 points in 24 games. Sixteen of those points have come in the last nine games.
Griffith, who played 30 games for the varsity in 2014-15, could be setting himself up for a promotion. Stay tuned.
*Zack Phillips had his first multi-point game of the season, with a goal and assist. He had five last season, his first in Providence.
*Zane McIntyre got his first start in two weeks on Sunday. He turned aside 24 of the 28 shots the Sound Tigers sent his way, suffering his first loss since Nov. 22. The rookie out of North Dakota is 5-5-3 on the season with a .886 save percentage and 2.94 GAA.
*Former BU netminder Matt O’Connor, who out-dueled McIntyre in the 2015 NCAA semifinal at the TD Garden, got the winning decision for Binghamton (OTT) on Saturday night, a 4-2 win over Hartford (NYR), making 24 saves. The 23-year-old is just 3-9-2 this season, stopping pucks at a .881 rate, but has wins in three of his last four starts, allowing seven goals and posting a .936 save percentage.
*Jake DeBrusk, who the Bruins took with the 14th overall pick, made his debut with the Red Deer Rebels (WHL) on Sunday night, after being traded to Red Deer from Swift Current. DeBrusk scored a goal and assisted on another in the Rebels’ 5-4 win over Edmonton, though he was also on the ice for two of the Oil Kings’ four goals. The 19-year-old forward has 10 goals and 28 points in a combined 25 games between Swift Current and Red Deer.