For the first time in the International Ice Hockey Federation’s World Junior Hockey Championship history, Team Canada has lost by six goals. Going up against a powerful Russian team on Saturday the Canadians were outplayed, outshot and outscored, ultimately losing the game 6-0 at Ostravar Arena in Czech Republic.
It just wasn’t Canada’s day Saturday, as the team gave up three goals in the opening period – all before the 14-minute mark. Alexander Khovanov opened the scoring just 1:44 in, on a long wrist shot that floated over netminder Nico Daws before landing inside the Canadian net. Upon further review it appeared that the play was in fact offside entering the Russian offensive zone. Team Canada Head Coach Dale Hunter opted not to use his one challenge on the play, and the goal stood.
Midway through the period, defenceman Aidan Dudas found himself caught in no-man’s land, allowing Pavel Dorofeyev to tuck a nifty backhand play past Daws, before Nikita Rtishev put a backhand rebound into the Canadian net just 3:29 later, giving the Russians a 3-0 lead through 20 minutes.
Russia added another goal just 2:18 into the second period, Nikita Alexandrov’s marker spelled the end of the night for Daws. Winnipeg product Joel Hofer came in in a relief role, stopping 20 of the 22 shots he faced.
Hofer did give up two goals during his 37:42 of relief, however, the biggest story from Saturday’s game was that of 2020 NHL Entry Draft consensus No. 1 selection Alexis Lafreniere suffering a lower-body injury on a power play drive to the net. The Canadians’ leading point getter was helped off the ice, while not allowing his left leg to make any contact with the ice surface.
Russia ended up outshooting Canada 40-28, while earning its first win of the round robin. This win provides the tournament with the very first situation in which all five teams in Group B hold identical records through two games, as Canada, Russia, Czech Republic, Germany and the United States are all 1-1 as of Saturday.
Canada will now face off against Germany on Monday at 8:00 AM central, before playing the host Czech Republic on Tuesday at 12 noon central.