Emil Bemstrom leads Sweden past Slovakia at world juniors

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Sweden's Emil Bemstrom (10) takes a shot on Slovakia's goaltender Juraj Sklenar (30) during first period IIHF world junior hockey action in Victoria, Thursday Dec. 27, 2018. (Jonathan Hayward/CP)

VANCOUVER — Emil Bemstrom scored twice, including the eventual winner, as Sweden topped Slovakia 5-2 at the world junior hockey championship on Thursday.

Erik Brannstrom, Lucas Elvenes and Isac Lundestrom rounded out the scoring for Sweden (2-0).

Adam Liska and Milos Fafrak replied for Slovakia (0-2).

Juraj Sklenar made 21 saves in a losing effort. Samuel Ersson stopped 17 shots in the victory.

Elvenes opened the scoring at 11:42 of the first period before Liska knotted the game at 13:43.

Sweden reclaimed the lead off Brannstrom’s marker at 16:12 of the first and never trailed again.

Sweden stayed undefeated to open the tournament after a 2-1 win over its rival Finland on Wednesday. It sits atop Group B with six points.

Both teams are in action again Saturday, with the Swedes facing the U.S. and Slovakia taking on Finland.

Earlier Thursday, Alexander Romanov had a goal and two assists as Russia beat Denmark 4-0.

Despite the loss, it was a much improved effort from a Danish team that was trounced 14-0 by Canada on Wednesday in its tournament opener.

Vitali Kravtsov had a goal and an assist and Pavel Shen and Ivan Morozov also scored for Russia, which played its first game at the tournament.

Danil Tarasov picked up the shutout for Russia. William Rorth took the loss in goal for Denmark.

Kravtsov opened the scoring 6:28 into the game, and Romanov made it 2-0 late in the second period.

The Danes kept the game close until Shen scored on a power play with just over six minutes to go, and then Morozov capped the scoring with an empty-net goal in the final two minutes.

Russia next plays the Czech Republic on Friday, while Denmark faces Switzerland on Saturday.

Later Thursday, Canada took on Switzerland and Finland faced Kazakhstan.

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