Canada’s National Junior Team scored four goals in the first period and used that strong start to defeat Russia 6-4 on Thursday in the first and only pre-tournament game for both teams ahead of the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship.
• Mason McTavish (Carp, Ont./Peterborough, OHL) led Canada’s attack with two goals, including a power-play marker that opened the scoring at 6:25 of the first period. McTavish also scored the game-winning goal in the second period and added an assist.
• Ridly Greig (Lethbridge, Alta./Brandon, WHL) and Kent Johnson (Port Moody, B.C./University of Michigan, Big Ten) scored even-strength goals for Canada in the first period and Lukas Cormier (Sainte-Marie-de-Kent, N.B./Charlottetown, QMJHL) scored a power-play goal to make it 4-0 at 15:34 of the first. Cormier’s goal was the result of a nifty passing play by Jake Neighbours (Airdrie, Alta./Edmonton, WHL) – who finished the game with two assists – and Shane Wright (Burlington, Ont./Kingston, OHL).
• Connor Bedard (North Vancouver, B.C./Regina, WHL) scored in the third period for Canada when he took a cross-ice pass from Cole Perfetti (Whitby, Ont./Manitoba, AHL) and beat Russian goalie Yegor Guskov.
• Dylan Garand (Victoria, B.C./Kamloops, WHL) made 14 saves through a period and a half before Sebastian Cossa (Fort McMurray, Alta./Edmonton, WHL) came on at 7:20 of the second period. Cossa allowed three goals on 11 shots.
• Canada went 2-for-5 on the power play, while the Russians went 2-for-4.
Canada will now prepare for its opening game of the tournament, as it faces Czechia on Boxing Day. The game will be broadcast on TSN/RDS at 5 p.m. MT/7 p.m. ET.
“There’s lots to like from that. They’re a skilled team and you kind of know what you’re going to get from a game with Russia – a fast, skilled team that can move the puck well. I thought we came out in the first and trapped them, took it away from them and really took it to them. The second period was a little frustrating there, got caught a couple of times with the long change. But there’s lots to like about that game; the way we moved the puck and the way the lines clicked for our first time playing together was pretty cool to watch and be a part of.”
– Perfetti on Team Canada’s performance
“The team is gelling really well; we came out really hard in the first. Obviously, we had some penalty trouble in the second but we closed it out in the third. We got the win so I think everybody in our locker room will be pretty happy.”
– McTavish on his team’s game
“(Johnson) loves hockey. He lives and breathes it. He’s thinking about plays at the hotel and stuff. We’ve got some good chemistry going. He always puts it in the wheelhouse. It’s a treat to play with him, for sure.”
– McTavish on Johnson
“I thought they moved the puck well. Chemistry is a tough thing to define and for them to develop it that quick was kind of exciting. They’re all not only skilled players but they’re all smart players and, when you have that combination, they’re able to read off one another, the chemistry develops a little bit faster. The good thing about it is, as much as they generated, they didn’t give a lot up and that’s a real plus.”
– Head coach Dave Cameron (Kinkora, P.E.I./Ottawa, OHL) on the line of McTavish, Johnson and Mavrik Bourque (Plessisville, Que./Shawinigan, QMJHL)