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WJC Roundup: Canada Nearly Breaks Team Record, USA, Sweden Win Big

The second day of the World Junior Championship didn't see much in terms of close action, with Canada, USA and Sweden grabbing their first victories of the tournament in dominant fashion.

Canada Dominant Against Tired Germans

Talk about an uncomfortable outing. Canada recorded one of the biggest victories in the team's tournament history with a 16-2 win over Germany, falling just shy of the team's 18-2 victory against West Germany in 1985 but tying the team's output from a 16-0 win over Latvia in 2009.

The odds were against Germany from the start. They had never beaten Canada in 14 previous games. They were missing nearly half their team due to COVID-19. A few others didn't even make the trip. The team was left without the best U-20 goalie in the country. They played a game yesterday and started their goalie in back-to-back contests despite facing 50 shots the night before. Simply put, it wasn't a fair fight for Germany.

Just 1:54 into the game, defenseman Kaiden Guhle pinched in and scored off of a tough angle, somehow finding a hole between Arno Tiefensee's blocker and the post. Six minutes later, Dawson Mercer doubled the advantage after stealing the puck off of Tiefensee behind the German net, scoring uncontested on an empty net after Tiefensee's blunder. 

John Peterka gave the Germans a bit of life with a power-play goal at 13:12 after Canadian defender Braden Schneider was ejected for a hit to the head of Jan-Luca Schumacher, but Philip Tomasino scored a minute later to take the momentum back. 

The fourth goal was controversial, though. The period appeared to have ended when Peyton Krebs scored, but the IIHF ruled that the goal came with just 0.2 seconds left in the period. TSN's Gord Miller said the IIHF's clock was delayed by 0.2 seconds on their overhead feed of the German net and that TSN's clock was correct according to the game time. In the end, it didn't change things as Mercer scored early in the second to record Canada's fifth goal on 13 shots - including the first on new goaltender Jonas Gahr. Mercer then set up Ryan Suzuki on their next shift out and Alex Newhook, a fellow Newfoundlander like Mercer, made it 7-1 at 26:40.

From there, life simply got worse for Germany. Canada had scored 12 goals on Gahr on 33 shots - 16 on 44 total. Canada's first five shots all went in to open the third in a game where Germany couldn't even top Canada's goal count in shots. The good news: Germany will get six players back for the team's big game against Slovakia on Monday, and they've already faced the two big bad bullies in Group A, Canada and Finland.

The bad news? It's not going to feel good, regardless.

“It’s our first game of the tournament. We still have to establish good habits," Cozens said. "It’s a tough spot. They’re down a lot of numbers.”

"It wasn’t about trying to embarrass anybody," Canadian coach Andre Tourigny said after the game. "It was about playing the right way.”

Sweden Extends Streak to 53 

Despite a good first half for the Czech Republic, Sweden has extended their record to 53 consecutive round-robin victories at the World Junior Championship with a big 7-1 win to open their tournament.

It didn't start off that bad for the Czechs. At 10:14 on the man advantage, Montreal Canadiens prospect Jan Mysak knocked the puck in at the left doorstep after taking Jaromir Pytlik's feed in front, beating Hugo Alnefelt glove side. But just over 30 seconds later, Victor Soderstrom set up Arvid Costmar in front, with Costmar knotting the game up at one apiece.

The Czechs started strong in the second, controlling the early pace, but Sweden was the only team to find a bit of luck. At 9:08 on the power play, Albin Sundsvik spent considerable time in front of the net before getting the puck behind the net and beating Nick Malik blocker side to give Sweden the lead. It was an advantage the team would never relinquish, with Emil Heineman and Theodor Niederbach adding goals in the second half of the middle stanza. Defenseman Philip Broberg had three assists in the second period en route to player of the game honors for his nation.

The game wasn't completely out of reach for the Czechs heading into the third, but they didn't do anything to close the gap. Elmer Soderblom scored an early candidate for goal of the tournament after putting the puck between his legs in front on the power play to make it 5-1 five minutes into the frame. Then, seven minutes later, Tobias Bjornfot set up Oscar Bjerselius all alone in the slot to finish off the game - only to have Noel Gunler finish things off late in the game to end the contest.

Sweden has yet to lose a preliminary round game since Dec. 31, 2006 against the United States, but they have just one gold medal to their credit in that span. Sweden will look to further extend their win record on Monday when they face off against Austria, while the Czechs will be thrust back into action tomorrow aga

USA Shuts Out Austria Despite Strong Effort for Wraneschitz

Austrian goaltender Sebastian Wraneschitz had to face 68 shots on Saturday (73 shots against total for Austria), and while was definitely the highlight of the game for the team in white, the Americans were simply too strong and skated away with the 11-0 victory.

The Americans were simply relentless. Wraneschitz had to face 22 shots alone in the first period, turning away 21 of them in a 1-0 performance in the opening frame - only for USA to shoot 30 times in the second period. Drew Helleson got the lone goal in the first, a fluke one from the high slot that slid through and bounced off Wraneschitz's stick and in. USA then added a trio of goals in the first half of the second thanks to Trevor Zegras, John Farinacci and Brendan Brisson, with Zegras adding the fifth goal of the game at 31:59. 

But the real star for USA was Matt Boldy, who had a hat-trick in about 11 minutes of play time in the second and third. By then, the Americans simply had full control and the Austrians couldn't touch the puck. Brett Berard and Sam Colangelo added goals and Brisson added another to make it 11-0, a game that was simply never in doubt.

On Wraneschitz's 58th save of the game (68th shot), the goaltender appeared to tweak something in his left leg and was forced to leave the contest early. Backup Jakob Brandner came in and allowed a goal on his first shot to Colangelo, USA's 69th shot on net. Austria doubled their five-shot output in a five-minute span late in the game but couldn't beat a strong Dustin Wolf in the American net, handing the shutout effort to the United States.

Three Stars

1. Matt Boldy, LW (USA): A hat-trick and generally a fantastic game from the Minnesota Wild prospect. He's been neck and neck with Trevor Zegras as the team's top player so far.

2Dylan Cozens, C (CAN): A hat-trick and six points in a 16-2 win. That's it. You know the rest.

3. Philip Broberg, D (SWE): With three assists for the Swedes, Broberg's quest to be the tournament's top defenseman is off to a great start.

Group A Standings

1. Canada, 3P (1-0-0-0) 

2. Finland, 3P (1-0-0-0) 

3. Slovakia, 3P (1-0-0-0) 

4. Switzerland 0P (0-0-0-1) 

5. Germany, 0P (0-0-0-2)

Group B Standings

1. Sweden, 3P (1-0-0-0)

2. Russia, 3P (1-0-0-0

3. USA, 3P (1-0-0-1)

4. Czech Republic, 0P (0-0-0-1)

5. Austria, 0P (0-0-0-1)


Andrew Copp

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