Canada had a pleasant start to the 2021 World Junior Championships, scoring 19 goals while only conceding three during their opening two games. Slovakia did howevere provide considerably much more bite than Germany and the Canadians had to fight throughout all three periods to eventually drag out a 3-1-win.
Having been scheduled favourably, Team Canada once again was heavily favoured against a Team Switzerland with few NHL calibre prospects on their roster. Switzerland held their own quite well defensively throughout their first two games, losing to an only goal against the Slovaks and conceding four to Team Finland.
Offensively though, things have been rough. Draft eligible Attilio Biasca turned some heads with his goal on Sunday, but that goal has been the only one the Swiss have scored so far in the tournament. One goal in 42 shots is not enough if you want to reach the quarter finals.
Team Canada started the game, as expected, with immense velocity. Switzerland looked as though they were third on the puck as Canada skated in circles around them. Philip Tomasino isn’t one of the forwards with the most playing time on the team, but he sure knows how to do something creative with the time he gets. The Nashville prospect became the first player on the board as he sniped the puck past QMJHL-goaltender Noah Patenaude with less than two minutes played of the opening period.
Canada had 13 more shots throughout the period, but did not manage to double their lead. Switzerland meanwhile only managed three and Devon Levi, who got his third straight start in net, had no problem keeping a clean sheet.
Buffalo Sabres prodigy Dylan Cozens became the second goalscorer of the night, when he pushed a rebound from Cole Perfetti past Patenaude and into the open cage.
Quebec native Jacob Pelletier followed up with 3-0 off a rebound from fellow Calgary Flames draft prospect Connor Zary and minutes later the younger brother Suzuki continued the rebound mania shortly afterward with his second of the tournament. Connor McMichael, who could have got a ten minute major for his interference during period one. scored number five with a beautiful wrister in pace from the top of the slot.
Dylan Cozens once again shows his smart defensive stick, this time using his long reach to get the steal before feeding McMichael for the goal. Canada leads Switzerland 5-0 at the second intermission. pic.twitter.com/std7vfnuXF— Kris Baker (@SabresProspects) December 30, 2020
In the mean time, Montreal prospect Kaiden Guhle was making a name for himself on the world wide web by delivering hits like this one:
Patenaude did everything he could to keep the score to a minimum, but as so often before when a superior force meets an inferior one, there’s only so long you can stand your ground.
The third period turned into a long and tedious nightmare for the Swiss as Team Canada went for yet another game with double digits on the score board. Quinton Byfield, who coincidentally is the youngest player on both this and last year’s team, already had three assists to his name from the first two periods. He followed this up by scoring his first two tallies of his World Juniors career to put the score up to seven.
Perfetti added number eight before Guhle made his best Shea Weber-impression and buried it home from the point. We can surely get used to seeing his rocket of a slapshot.
Before deciding that enough was enough, Pelletier scored his second of the night and third of the tournament. The game ended with a 10-0-victory for Canada, who now possess a whopping 29-3 in goals for/against after three games played.
On New Years Eve, we will get to see the first real test for this team as they take on Finland in what should be a battle for the top seed in Group A.
Switzerland will face Germany in a decisive battle for what should be the last quarter final spot in the same group. Considering Germany’s overtime win over Slovakia, Switzerland will need to beat their rivals to squeeze on through to the next round.