After suffering an embarrassing tournament-opening loss at the hands of Czechia on Boxing Day, Team Canada bounced back with 22 total goals scored in the two games following its disappointing start.
Yes, 22 goals for in 120 minutes of hockey. First it was an 11-2 thrashing of Germany, before pounding Latvia 11-0 the following day.
In earning lopsided victories on back-to-back nights, the young Canadians restored all hope in the national team as the tournament kicked into high gear. With the wrapping up of the round robin portion of the annual showdown on New Year’s Eve, the time to score goals was clearly in the crosshairs of the Canadian offence.
First, Canada dismantled Germany 11-2 on Wednesday, with scoring sensation Connor Bedard picking up a spectacular seven points on the night, including three goals for his first hat trick of the tournament. But it wasn’t just the soon-to-be No. 1 overall selection in the 2023 NHL Draft who put his skills on display on Wednesday, as Dylan Guenther also potted three tallies, while six other players put up multi-point efforts on the night.
“We were pretty hungry today, wanting to bounce back after the first game,” Bedard said post-game. “We were pretty upset after that one. We were physical tonight, backchecking hard and doing those little things. I thought we played a good overall game.”
Germany did record two goals in the game, beating Thomas Milic in the early stages and then again late in the third period. Although the goaltending performance was better than that of Canada’s 5-2 loss just two days prior, it still wasn’t where it should be midway into the tournament.
Bedard’s seven points tied a Canadian record for most points recorded in a single World Junior contest.
And he wasn’t done with the records quite yet.
A day off on Tuesday meant a quick turn around for the Canadians between game No. 2 and 3, as Team Canada then took on Team Austria on Thursday evening. And as per his typical offensive ways, Connor Bedard got up to his magic once again.
This time it was a four-point night, with Bedard tying Jordan Eberle’s Canadian record of 14 total goals as a member of Team Canada. He scored twice (his 13th and 14th career goals in red and white) while adding four assists as his teammates manhandled a lousy Latvian club.
15 total players picked up points for Canada in the game. Benjamin Gaudreau stopped all eight shots he faced, giving the Canadians their second win in as many days. Benedikt Oschgan was on the hook for all 11 goals, as he made 36 saves on the 47 shots he faced.
Next up for Canada is a New Year’s Eve battle with Sweden to determine first place in Group A. Puck drop from Halifax is set for 5:30 PM central time.