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Team Canada Preview: Bring on the Austrians

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Photo credit:Hockey Canada
Liam Horrobin
29 days ago
Team Canada put it all together last night, dominating the Germans 11-2 to get their first win of this year’s World Junior Championship. Connor Bedard led the way for Canada scoring three goals and seven points, having one of the greatest games in the history of the tournament. Arizona Coyotes first round pick, Dylan Guenther also had himself a night scoring a hat trick too.
Tonight, the competition does not get much more difficult for the host nation as they take on Team Austria. Austria has had a tough time in their first two games so far, losing 11-0 to Team Sweden and then 9-0 to Team Czechia. In comparison, Germany only lost 1-0 to the Swedes. Tonight’s matchup could be another strong opportunity for some players on the Canadian roster to build up some confidence leading up to their game against Sweden on New Year’s Eve.
Here’s what our prospect analyst, Steven Ellis, wrote about Team Austria over at Daily Faceoff:
It’s always fun to cheer for an underdog.
That’s exactly what Austria has been the past few years since getting promoted to the top tournament in 2021. From incredible goaltending performances to budding stars getting a chance, Austria has managed to raise some eyebrows in recent years, even if the success hasn’t been there.
Austria won’t have Detroit Red Wings prospect Marco Kasper, who will instead remain in Sweden to focus on the rest of the season before representing his country at the World Championship. So the team will need to look deep to get results, but that type of opportunity can create new stars for a country that’s just trying to prove it belongs.
The biggest challenge for Canada is to not get complacent. Yes, the opponent may not challenge them much in many areas, however, this is a best-on-best tournament and you simply cannot underestimate your opponent. They underestimated Czechia on night one, attempting two Michigans in the first period, and look what happened there.
Goaltending has not been great for Canada in the first two games either. Benjamin Gaudreau had a tough time against Czechia, which resulted in him being pulled. Then against Germany, Thomas Milic allowed the Germans to score on their first real chance of the game. Tonight, the goaltending needs to be solid. Austria likely won’t trouble them too much, which means they cannot allow any bad ones. Canada’s offence will carry them most of the way throughout the tournament, however, goaltending will be needed at some point and improvements need to begin now.
Overall, fans should expect much of the same from what they saw last night. Tons of goals and not a very close game. Let’s hope our boy Reid Schaefer can get his name on the no score too.

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