Saturday’s Group A World Junior Hockey Championship contest between Canada and Germany was a close one… until the referees dropped the puck. Germany, lacing a team consisting of 14 players due to COVID-19 quarantine protocol, played shorthanded for the duration of the game, ultimately losing its second game in as many days, 16-2 to a high-flying Canadian squad.
Canada, which relied on strong goaltending from the duo of Devon Levi and Dylan Garand, outshot the Germans 44-15, including a span in which the team scored five goals on its first five shots to open the third period. Dylan Cozens led the way with three goals and six points, while Phil Tomasino, Dawson Mercer, Alex Newhook and Peyton Krebs each scored two goals.
“It’s not about the score,” Canadian coach Andre Tourigny said post-game. “It’s about our play to move forward in the tournament. We have no time to waste. The thing I liked the most about our game tonight was our third period because that’s the period we were the best at doing the little things, all the stuff you need to do to win, winning faceoffs, battles in front of the next, that sort of thing.”
It didn’t take long for Canada to get going, as Cozens rattled a quick shot off the crossbar just 21 seconds into the opening frame. But just 1:54 in, Kaiden Guhle beat the German starting netminder Arno Tiefensee short side, giving the home team an early lead. Dawson Mercer scored his first of the game on a goalie gaffe by Tiefensee, scoring while his team was shorthanded.
Philip Tomasino added another tally with 5:40 to play, putting the puck past Tiefensee low on the short side. Then on a late-period power play, Winnipeg ICE captain Peyton Krebs poked a rebound into the German net on a buzzer-beater. Upon further review it appeared as though time just expired prior to the puck crossing the line. However, hometown referees deemed the goal allowable, giving Canada 4-1 lead through 20 minutes.
The second period saw the undermanned Germans swap Tiefensee with Jonas Gahr between the pipes, in order to help preserve their ‘starter’ for their upcoming contests with fellow Group A teams Switzerland and Slovakia. Gahr didn’t fare any better, in fact his performance was just awful. He allowed 12 goals on 34 shots, handing Canada the victory with open arms.
Mercer, who had previously scored on a first-period goalie gaffe, did so again in the second period, this time capitalizing on a Jonas Gahr stumble behind the German net, collecting the loose puck a handing it off to Nick Suzuki for an easy marker. Alex Newhook then scored back-to-back markers, before Tomasino got his second of the game shortly thereafter. For the second-straight period, Peyton Krebs scored a goal in the dying seconds that had to be reviewed. Team Canada led 11-1 through 40 minutes of play.
The final period of play saw an onslaught of early goals, with Canada scoring another five times before the halfway mark, as Cozens picked up two quick goals to complete his hat trick in the early stages of play. Jakob Pelletier, Thomas Harley and Connor McMichael sealed the deal, giving Canada its most lopsided opening game victory in tournament history (14-0 over Denmark in 2018).
“You have to give a lot of credit to the Germans,” Tourigny added following Saturday’s victory. “They’ve had sickness on their team, playing two games in 24 hours against two really good countries. They fought hard, especially in the first period.”
Dylan Garand, who came in for the third period, gave up a goal to Florian Elias with just 27 seconds remaining in the third period. Levi stopped all but one shot that he faced as well. The Germans saw a number of players hit time-on-ice totals in the high-twenties, while the extremely socially distanced German bench was on full-display all night.
Canada did lose defenceman Braden Schneider in the early going, as the big Brandon Wheat Kings defender was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for checking to the head of Jan-Luca Schumacher. He will most likely be facing further supplemental discipline in the form of a suspension moving forward. Canada (1-0-0) will next face off against Slovakia (1-0-0) on Sunday evening. Puck drop is set for 5:00 PM central time. The game can once again be viewed live on TSN.