HELSINKI, Finland - After an early scare, team USA rallied to defeat Austria in their opening round matchup of the IIHF World Championship by a final score of 5-3. Although Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson was heralded as the hero of game 1, Panthers’ forward Nick Bjugstad’s contributions to the victory were almost as important.
In just 10:39 of ice time, Bjugstad tallied 2 assists and made himself very noticeable in his limited minutes. In fact, Bjugstad’s beautiful cross-ice pass to Aaron Palushaj set up what would prove to be the eventual game winning goal.
With USA set to take on Latvia on Sunday, Bjugstad will look to improve on his already impressive game 1 performance. Considering Latvian goaltenders Maris Jucers and Edgars Masalskis gave up a combined 6 goals in their first 2 games, Bjugstad will have a good chance to notch his first goal of the tournament.
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