Canada’s second game at the World Junior Hockey Championships is now in the books and the team improves to a 2-0 record with an 11-2 win over Austria.
Head Coach Dave Cameron gave London Knight’s goaltender, Brett Brochu the start on Tuesday with the intention of starting Dylan Garand again on Wednesday against Germany.
In addition to the change between the pipes, Canada saw changes throughout their lineup. Justin Sourdif is serving his one-game suspension after a hit to the head in the first game against Czechia. Xavier Bourgeault is also out with injury after taking a hit in the opener. His status moving forward is unclear but the team is hoping he will skate tomorrow. This allowed Logan Stankoven to get an opportunity and he did not disappoint. Ryan O’Rourke also made his tournament debut on defence.
Canada got off to a hot start, scoring five goals in the first period. Two of these came from Connor Bedard and the other three were from Kent Johnson, Lukas Cormier and Stankoven.
Bedard started this tournament as Canada’s 13th forward. Under halfway through Tuesday’s game, Bedard had a hat trick, making him the first Canadian 16 year old to do it since Wayne Gretzky in 1977. Bedard went on to add another, finishing the night with a four-goal performance that ties the Canadian single-game goal record at the tournament.
The remaining Canadian goals were scored by Mason McTavish (2), Cole Perfetti and Mavrik Bourque. Brochu stopped 20 of 22 for Canada and had a quiet night compared to his opponent. It can definitely be difficult to stay in the game as the goalie on the winning side of a blowout game. Brochu did make an unfortunate misplay of the puck leading to an Austrian goal. Cameron and staff will have to decide what comes next for their goaltenders.
Austria’s two goals were scored by Lukas Necesany and Mathias Bohm. Their goaltender, Leon Sommer, faced 64 shots and made 53 saves.
This is a 19-year-old’s tournament. At 16, Bedard has come in and shown the hockey world who he is. The tournament’s youngest player has four goals in a single game and five points over the first two games.
For years, Bedard has been compared to the game’s best players. He’s the only player to ever earn exceptional status in the WHL and now plays for the Regina Pats. Even with all the skills he has, Bedard had to prove himself and earn a spot in the lineup.
While Bedard’s skill is next level, his IQ is also outstanding. He is able to make plays at high speeds because of how well he reads the game. He knows the plays he wants to make but is also able to adjust to carry out a high danger scoring chance regardless of the defender’s decisions.
Bedard will be back at the tournament next year as he is not NHL draft-eligible until 2023. With another year under of development, it’ll be fun to watch him play as a tournament veteran.
Sharing the offensive load
Only two players in Canada had multi-goal games which means seven different players scored in this game and 16 of Canada’s 20 skaters had points. Cameron was able to get from production up and down his lineup which only benefits their confidence and chemistry moving forward.
While Austria wasn’t their toughest competitor and a game like this won’t ultimately improve Canada’s systems too drastically, it is still beneficial for players to get their first goals and points of the tournament early on.
COVID-19 is here
In Group B, COVID-19 has begun to affect teams and games. After two positive tests, the United States had to place four players (positive tests and their roommates) in quarantine. The team was unable to play against Switzerland and had to forfeit resulting in a 1-0 win for the Swiss. The rest of the team is required to produce two negative tests before Wednesday’s game against Sweden can be played.
With the spread of omicron only increasing, it is important that the health and safety of players is prioritized for the remainder of the tournament.
As previously mentioned, Canada’s next game will be Wednesday against Germany. Stay tuned for more Team Canada and World Junior coverage from Unbenched.