WJC GDB 1.0: Canada kicks off tournament against Latvia
Photo credit:Tom Pennington
9 months ago
The 2022 World Juniors campaign for Team Canada begins again, this evening when they take on Latvia at Rogers Place for a 4 p.m. puck drop.
Connor Bedard will lead the way for Canada after he put his name on the world map at the original 2022 tournament in December. He finished the season in Regina with 100 points (51 goals, 49 assists) and looks to start his draft-eligible season off with a bang this summer.
The potential first overall pick is without eight members of that Canada roster that played in Edmonton late last year. Headling the non-returnees is 2021 first-overall pick Owen Power, who is now a full-time player with the Buffalo Sabres. Also not returning is Kaiden Guhle, Xavier Bourgault, Mavrik Bourque, Dylan Guenther, Jake Neighbours, Cole Perfetti, Justin Sourdif and Shane Wright.
Despite many significant losses, they were still able to take an exciting roster to the first summer World Juniors. Mason McTavish is one to watch, and some may remember him from the 2022 Olympic team that made it to the quarterfinals. He was also the captain of the 2021 U18 Canada team that won a gold medal at the World Under 18 Championship. McTavish scored three goals and five points in two games before the tournament was cancelled due to COVID-19.
On the other side of the ice, Latvia has already played a game at the tournament, which came last night against Finland. They struggled to withstand the Finnish firepower allowing six goals and countering with only one. In the pre-tournament games, Latvia split their two games, falling 4-2 to Austria and beating Germany 3-1. Three members of the team were drafted into the NHL in Montreal: Dans Locmelis (119th overall, Boston Bruins), Sandis Vilmanis (157th overall, Florida Panthers) and Klavs Veinbergs (224th overall, Tampa Bay Lightning).
Canada and Latvia haven’t met at the World Juniors since 2017. That year, the Canadians went on to win silver and, on the way, beat Latvia 10-2 in the preliminary round. Taylor Raddysh led the way for Canada, scoring four goals and picking up an assist for a five-point night.
Only one change for Canada from the team that beat Sweden in their lone pre-tournament matchup. Riley Kidney draws into the lineup, replacing Brennan Othmann in the forward group. Then on the blue line, Ethan Del Mastro remains on the outside after drawing in late to the roster replacing the injured Daemon Hunt. Between the pipes, Edmonton Oil Kings goaltender Sebastian Cossa will get the start for Canada.
Joshua Roy (MON)
Mason McTavish (ANA)
Kent Johnson (CBJ)
Logan Stankoven (DAL)
Tyson Foerster (PHI)
Zack Ostapchuk (OTT)
Ridly Greig (OTT)
William Dufour (NYI)
Wyatt Cuylle (NYR)
Elliot Desnoyers (PHI)
Nathan Gaucher (ANA)
Riley Kidney (MON)
Donovan Sebrango (DET)
Olen Zellweger (ANA)
Ryan O’Rourke (MIN)
Lukas Cormier (VGS)
Ronan Seeley (CAR)
Jack Thompson (TBL)
Carson Lambos (MIN)
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Canada should come away with an easy victory tonight, so my prediction will be an 8-0 victory.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Connor Bedard will score at least two goals tonight. He scored four in two games back in December, so this feels likely.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: For my not-so-obvious game day prediction, I will say that at least two Canadian defencemen will score a goal tonight. I’ll put my money on Olen Zellweger and Donovan Sebrango.
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