Canada stomps Germany on the back of Bedard’s 7-point game
Say what you will about Canada’s showmanship, they showed no signs of complacency in an 11-2 rout of Germany on Wednesday night. Connor Bedard scored three goals and a record seven points, while Dylan Guenther scored his own hat trick for the Canadians.
Without further ado, here are three takeaways from the extensive thrashing.
Connor Bedard is the best player in the tournament, and it’s not even close
Connor Bedard separated from Brennan Othmann and Shane Wright to start the game, and began the contest along with Joshua Roy and Logan Stankoven. Reunited with Othmann and Wright on the power play, he turned in one of the best single-game performances ever at the World Juniors, tying the Canadian record for points in a single game with seven.
Bedard drew a penalty early in the first period when his acceleration overtook Germany’s Julian Lutz and he was quickly hacked. On the ensuing power play, Bedard called for the puck, faked a shot and found a wide-open Dylan Guenther at the side of the net to open the scoring.
Shane Wright quickly added a second goal, with Bedard’s gravity allowing Canada’s captain to pounce on the puck before it crossed the goal line, unimpeded.
Bedard’s straight-line speed was evident to all watching as he tormented Germany throughout the first period, tearing away from the defense as he picked off a stretch pass from Logan Stankoven for a breakaway before grabbing Canada’s third goal.
The Vancouver native’s laser-like release was our focal point in Monday’s blog, and his dynamic game was on full display again Wednesday night. The 17-year-old found Guenther again with a no-look feed, and the Coyotes prospect connected it home. But again, Bedard’s best asset is his release, which was evident on his hat-trick goal, where he was given too much space to operate and connected a deftly placed wrist shot into the top corner.
Canada has only played two games, but we’re already running out of ways to describe Bedard. He’s going to destroy the record books and the worst teams in the NHL need to start their tank engines immediately, if they haven’t already!
The Michigan debate is so over the top, but Canada avoided complacency
If anyone thought Canada was just trying to turn this tournament into a glorified exhibition, think again.
“We have to learn from this, we have to move on from it. The gold medal is not won tonight,” Wright said. “We’ve got to respect our opponent a little bit more. We’ve got to make sure we come into every game ready to fight. We’re going to get every team’s best and every team wants to beat Canada.”
Bedard and Adam Fantilli both attempted Michigan — a lacrosse-style goal that involves a player pushing the puck into the top corner — in the first period of Monday’s loss to the Czech Republic. It was initially seen as a sign of their superior talent, but it quickly turned into a referendum on showboating as Canada took the lead. Asking players to stop trying cool tricks on the ice goes against everything we want as hockey fans, especially in a round robin format where Canada won’t miss the quarterfinals barring some unthinkable disaster.
Canada followed Wright’s lead. They pushed Germany to the limit and threatened to run the score to absurd heights during a second-period boom, team defense and back-checking were dialed in, and the team can feel much better about the overall performance. Let Bedard and Fantilli try Michigan, it won’t hurt anybody; certainly not a Canadian juggernaut that may or may not operate on cruise control Wednesday.
Thomas Milic should remain Canada’s No. 1 going forward
Thomas Milic was always going to start after Benjamin Gaudreau was withdrawn on Monday night. Now it is Milic’s job to lose. It wasn’t a perfect performance, but you can reasonably expect him to be between the pipes for the foreseeable future.
Milic conceded a soft goal early on, as Roman Kechter’s wrist shot trickled through his pads, briefly leveling the score at 1-1. It’s certainly something Milic wants back, and although he was relatively untested throughout the contest, he did enough to hold on to the starter’s job, making 10 saves.
Milic did enough to keep Germany out of reach, with his best save of the competition in the second period, sliding across the puck to rob Phillipp Krenig, as Canada clung to a 4-1 lead.
There is a lot for Milic to play for outside of the tournament as well, as the 19-year-old remains undrafted by an NHL team. Wednesday’s performance wasn’t enough to convince an NHL team to take a chance on him, but the incentive is there for him to play the best hockey of his career. For now, he got an extended look as Canada went 1-1.
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