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Montreal Canadiens prospect performances at the 2023 World Juniors

Daily updates on how the Habs prospects are faring in the Maritimes.

Canada v Sweden: Group A - 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

The Montreal Canadiens have seven prospects representing six countries at the 2023 World Junior Hockey Championship. Their performances will be updated daily in this article.

Tournament statistics

Player Draft year Country Pos GP TOI/GP G A P SOG
Player Draft year Country Pos GP TOI/GP G A P SOG
Joshua Roy 2021 Canada RW 7 16:34 5 6 11 20
Filip Mesar 2022 Slovakia C/RW 5 19:57 2 4 6 12
Lane Hutson 2022 United States LD 7 15:47 1 3 4 9
Oliver Kapanen 2021 Finland C 5 17:35 2 1 3 13
Adam Engström 2022 Sweden LD 7 18:30 1 2 3 11
Vinzenz Rohrer 2022 Austria C 5 23:28 1 2 3 10
Owen Beck 2022 Canada C 3 4:23 0 1 1 1

Joshua Roy

December 26: Canada vs. Czechia

It wasn’t the typical relentless offensive effort Canada had shown in pre-tournament matched that they brought into their first meaningful game of the winter. They seemed to take their opponent lightly, and that came back to bite them as the Czechs scored two quick goals to end the first period, then another early in the second that proved enough to pull off an upset.

Unfortunately for Roy, his most notable play in the game was being a split-second offside on a goal that would have had Canada up 2-0 in the opening period. Canada’s hopes of a comeback were then undone when his centreman, Zach Dean, was assessed a match penalty in the middle frame, on which the Czechs scored another two goals. It’s now a question of whether Dean will face any further discipline, and it could mess with arguably Canada’s most effective shutdown line if that comes to pass.

Roy did launch three shots on target as he tried to get his team back in it, but Canada struggled to solve goaltender Tomáš Suchánek and he was one of many players left pointless on the night.

December 28: Canada vs. Germany

Following a debacle versus Czechia two days earlier, which included a one-game suspension for centreman Zach Dean, Canada’s coaching staff shuffled the top nine for the game versus Germany. One of the combos settled upon was Logan Stankoven between Roy and Connor Bedard, and it proved to be an inspired choice over the game’s 60 minutes.

Bedard stole the show with three goals and four assists to tie Canada’s single-game record at the tournament, but Roy relatively quietly played a big part in his linemate’s success. Bedard’s second goal of the night was scored as he took off down the ice on a change of possession and got a breakaway. The reason for the takeaway was Roy’s good work along the boards to stop a German attack, win the puck, and sling it to Stankoven to set the play in motion.

Past the midpoint of the third period, Bedard returned the favour to set up Roy for a goal, the final one that Canada scored in an 11-2 win.

Bedard had praised the play of Roy before the tournament began, and that impression can only have grown after the performance they had while playing together. The coaches seem to have found something great with this new trio, and even when Dean comes back from his suspension Roy might just find himself staying on this line that combined for five goals on Wednesday.

December 29: Canada vs. Austria

Everyone expected a high-scoring game from Canada versus Austria, with Connor Bedard at the centre of the action, and the game followed that script. Bedard added six points to go with the seven he had the previous night, rapidly rising up the list of all-time Canadian performances at the World Juniors.

Playing his part in history was Joshua Roy whose goal earned Bedard his third point of the game. Roy added a couple of assists on the first goals of the tournament for defenceman Tyson Hinds and another 2023 prospect, Adam Fantilli.

Roy was set up in tight a few more times by Bedard, but didn’t convert on all the looks he had. He still has some offence left in the tank for when the opponents get tougher and the scores get tighter.

December 31: Canada vs. Sweden

Roy set the tone of the New Year’s Eve finale when he opened the scoring 57 seconds in. It was his first of four shots in the game, but only the first one found the net in a 5-1 win.

Offence is only one aspect of what Roy contributed in the game. He was one of the main penalty-killers for Canada as it once again spent significant time in the box. With that deployment, only defenceman Ethan Del Mastro played more than Roy’s 19:35.

Canada salvaged its group-stage performance with three consecutive wins following an opening loss, and the play of Roy, Logan Stankoven, and Connor Bedard has them looking good heading into the quarter-finals despite doing so as a number-two seed. They play a good Team Slovakia, and you can be sure those three will feature heavily in the conversation yet again.

January 2: Quarter-final #4 — Canada vs. Slovakia

On a night when linemate Connor Bedard broke several Canadian records and scored what could stand as the goal of the tournament in overtime, Roy wasn’t able to register any points. He had three shots in 20:24 of play, and was one of the six forwards trusted with shifts in the three-on-three overtime period.

Much of his work is done in the defensive and neutral zones to create the offensive rushes for his team, and that was no different on Monday. He’s often the forward tasked with defensive recoveries while Bedard and Logan Stankoven work low in the offensive zone.

We’re seeing a mature, professional game from Roy, and he did his part to help his team pull off a win in a closely contested game. We can expect more of the same when Canada takes on Team USA on Wednesday.

January 4: Semifinal #2 — Canada vs. United States

Roy had been playing a complementary role on the line that became Canada’s main trio as the tournament went on, making use of his 200-foot game to chip in on offence but always mindful of his defensive duties. On Wednesday night when Canada needed someone to step up and take control of the game, it was Roy who put in the best performance of any skater.

It started at a critical point in the game, when Canada was already down two goals with Team USA soaring. For a rare offensive-zone faceoff midway through the first period, Roy was tapped to take the draw and won it to defenceman Ethan Del Mastro, who then set up Connor Bedard’s ninth goal.

In the opening minute of the second period, Roy poked the puck to Logan Stankoven for the tying goal.

Not long after the United States had had a third goal taken off the board for goaltender interference, Roy added to their misery with Canada’s fourth goal as the top line showed its skill once more.

Finally, with three-and-a-half minutes to play, the score at 5-2, and Team USA on a power play poised for a comeback, Roy got the hockey equivalent of the pick-six by stripping Luke Hughes of the puck in the neutral zone and zipping it into the empty net.

The four-point performance was Roy’s best of the tournament, but one of the loudest ovations in the game came after he had killed about 20 seconds off a penalty deep in the U.S. zone. He was a regular fixture at four-on-five, helping Canada kill off all four of its minor penalties.

The player of the game award was handed to Thomas Milic who had played an incredible game of his own to stop 41 of the 43 shots he faced. Canada also handed out its awards for the top three players on the team, and those were swept by the members of Canada’s top line.

That award is nice, but Roy has his sights set on two more on Thursday night: a gold medal, and a championship trophy to lift with his teammates.

January 5: Gold Medal Game — Canada vs. Czechia

The line of Roy, Logan Stankoven, and Connor Bedard had plenty of notable shifts in the title game, amassing a total of 10 shots, but had no goals through 60 minutes of regulation. Roy, as he always had, was playing the support role for his linemates, and taking up penalty-killing duties when called upon.

In overtime, he got his chance to play in a more open brand of hockey, and there he made the most important play of the entire tournament.

On a two-on-one, Dylan Guenther gave him the puck and continued on to the net. Roy faced down the Czech defender and calmly swung wide to avoid a sliding attempt at blocking a pass, then calmly dishing the puck across the crease where Guenther just had to elevate it into the net for the golden goal.

The goal gave Roy a +1 rating in the game, moving him into a tie with Bedard at a tournament-high +14. He was one of the players on the team who won a second consecutive gold medal after claiming one in August.

Tournament complete — Gold medal

Filip Mesar

December 27: Slovakia vs. Finland

Mesar was witness to Kapanen’s bounceback effort on Tuesday, and wasn’t able to come up with a counter. The 2022 first-round pick was leaned upon heavily for Slovakia with over 20 minutes played. He was a -2 with only one shot on goal.

Slovakia will need the playmaking forward to be a difference-maker to make any impact in this tournament. We should expect a rebound similar to what Kapanen produced when Slovakia tries to avoid an 0-2 start versus the United States on Wednesday.

December 28: Slovakia vs. United States

Mesar needed to play better for his team, and he did in his second game of the tournament. He played over 20 minutes once more, launched a team-high five shots on net, scored a goal that stood as the game-winner, and was on the ice at the end of the game as the Slovaks were protecting a two-goal lead.

A day after a crushing overtime loss to Finland, the Slovaks spent their Wednesday night celebrating an upset 6-3 win over Team USA that added another dose of chaos into the Group B standings. With their two most difficult games behind them, Slovakia is sitting comfortably with four points, and appear poised to at least see a quarter-final match after finishing ninth in the summer tournament.

December 30: Slovakia vs. Latvia

Slovakia needed to stay sharp versus Latvia to get the win and hang onto their hope of winning Group B. It was far from an easy game for the Slovaks, with shots just 28-26 in their favour, but they emerged with a 3-0 win to move to six points, one behind Finland, with one game remaining.

Mesar played 20 minutes in the game and set up an insurance goal from Simon Nemec to make it 2-0 midway through the third period, eventually adding an empty-netter of his own in the final minutes to seal the victory. It was his second goal of the tournament following his game-winner versus Team USA.

The Slovaks are up first on Saturday with the noon game in Moncton, versus a Switzerland team that also has designs on moving up to a higher seed for the quarter-finals. On a New Year’s Eve filled with quality matchups, Mesar and his teammates will try to kick things off with the first standings shift of the day.

December 31: Slovakia vs. Switzerland

In one of the best games of the 2023 World Juniors to date, Mesar and his team fell in a 10-round shootout. The result ensured that Slovakia would finish no worse than third in Group B, but they lost their chance to claim first spot in the standings at the end of the final day of the preliminary round.

Mesar earned two points in the game, setting up both goals scored by Servác Petrovský in the second period, including a nice move to spin away from pressure on the boards and sling the puck to his teammate.

After those tallies Slovakia was up 3-1, but the Swiss came back in the third to tie it up. Though Mesar played over 19 minutes in the game, and seven in the third, he wasn’t on the ice for any of the three goals Switzerland scored.

He did make life difficult for his teammates late in overtime when a poor drop-pass in the offensive zone nearly sent the Swiss on a breakaway and Simon Nemec had to intervene with a tripping penalty. No harm came from the power play, and Mesar made up for his error by scoring a goal in the shootout.

Slovakia will now sit back and watch the rest of the games on New Year’s Eve, waiting to see who they will play in the playoff round.

January 2: Quarter-final #4 — Slovakia vs. Canada

As Canada desperately tried to hang on to a one-goal lead, Filip Mesar played the defence like a puppet master, attracting two opponents to himself with a switchback behind the goal line before flicking a perfect pass to the top of the crease that Libor Nemec simply had to tap into the net.

Slovakia couldn’t muster the same energy they had used to get the game into a 3-3 tie the rest of the way, and were probably too passive in their offensive approach to the final minutes of the third and the overtime period. In the end, their tournament came to an end on an individual display of stickhandling from Connor Bedard that’s going to serve as one of the top highlights of 2023.

Elite Prospects

Mesar will head back to the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers having put in one of the greatest performances at the 2023 World Juniors, a solid contributor on both offence and defence. He was tied for the team lead in points with six (2G, 4A) and averaged nearly 20 minutes per night.

We won’t know how far Slovakia would have gone if they’d also had Juraj Slafkovský in the mix, but it’s probably safe to say they wouldn’t have been within an overtime goal of playing for a medal without Mesar’s efforts.

Tournament complete

Lane Hutson

December 26: United States vs. Latvia

Team USA played a tougher match than they probably expected versus Latvia in the tournament opener. a game that was tied 2-2 after 40 minutes of play. The Americans scored three goals to win comfortably in the end, but they flirted with an upset early.

Hutson didn’t register any points, or even shots, in the 5-2 win. He played just 14:07, which was the second-lowest total among the defence corps, and that may be the case throughout the tournament as Luke Hughes takes the offensive minutes Hutson thrives in. In his time in game one, Hutson was using his stick well to break up the few offensive plays Latvia had and aid his team in transition.

December 28: United States vs. Slovakia

On the opposite side of the big win for Slovakia was a significant loss for Team USA. Falling down 1-0 early, the Americans scored a power-play goal to tie it, saw the goal challenged unsuccessfully to earn another two-minute advantage, and then Lane Hutson scored just seconds after that power play ended to swing the game into the U.S.’s favour.

Midway through the second period, Hutson was called for a hook as he was outworked by his check, and was in the box when Dalibor Dvorsky tied the game on the power play. That goal sparked the Slovaks who went on to score three more goals before USA could respond.

Down a couple of goals at the end of the game, the coaches loaded up with Hutson and Luke Hughes, the two most offensive-minded blue-liners. USA had some looks, but eventually surrendered a goal into their empty net, losing the game and giving up the tiebreaker to a team they could end up tied with at the end of the group stage. The Americans are now fourth in their group, and have the top two teams in Group B left on their schedule.

December 29: United States vs. Switzerland

The United States knew that Switzerland had the ability to pull off an upset, and their game was close through one period of play with shots 8-8 and the score just 1-0. The Americans didn’t want a repeat of their opening loss to Slovakia, and they put the Swiss away with a more commanding performance over the final 40 minutes.

Hutson played nearly seven minutes of the final period as Team USa kept its foot on the gas with a 4-1 lead, despite having been on the ice for the one goal Switzerland had at the end of the second period. We’ll find out if that strategy continues versus the Finns on Saturday.

December 31: United States vs. Finland

Team USA opened the tournament with a stunning upset at the hands of Slovakia that threatened to spoil their entire tournament. Getting a third win in a row on Saturday versus Finland, they grabbed top spot in the group.

Hutson was a key factor in the dominant performance versus the Finns. His solid defensive positioning and great puck-moving skills kept the puck heading away from his zone all game long. He may have only played 15:24, but was a +3 with three shots on target, one of those a goal on a good move in close to the crease with the game well in hand.

I think many of us thought he would have more points through four games, but he’s not getting the prime minutes in the top offensive situations. As long as he has an impact in other areas of the game as he did on Saturday, there isn’t much to be upset about.

The reward for USA finishing first in Group B is an elimination game versus Germany, the team with the fewest goals scored (seven) and most allowed (22) among the eight teams advancing to the playoff round.

January 2: Quarter-final #3 — United States vs. Germany

Germany didn’t look like a tough opponent for Team USA based on its preliminary-round play, and the actual game was perhaps even more lopsided than anticipated. The U.S. scored at least three goals in each period, rolling to an 11-1 win.

Hutson’s only point of the contest came on the Americans’ ninth goal, a sharp pass from his own zone up to forward Dylan Duke at the offensive blue line, earning him his third point of the World Juniors.

For whatever reason, USA’s coach decided to play Luke Hughes for 22:34 in the blowout performance, four minutes more than anyone else, as Hutson got 16:08 of playing time. Hutson had three shots in that time, still making his impact on the game.

Now with what promises to be an emotional, high-paced semifinal versus Canada on the schedule, we’ll see how the defenceman’s transition game works versus the likes of Connor Bedard and Shane Wright.

January 4: Semifinal #2 — United States vs. Canada

Team USA was all over Canada for the majority of the second semifinal. They put 45 shots on goaltender Thomas Milic and put the puck in the net four times, but only two of those goals stood in what ended up being a deceiving 6-2 win for Canada.

Part of the U.S.’s possession dominance was due to their transition game keeping the puck in Canada’s end, and Hutson was one of the main players in that tactic. He didn’t make a lot of noise in the game, but quietly stopped potential rushes coming his way and started them up the ice for his team. He’s played a more conservative game in the World Juniors than what we’d been seeing in the NCAA, but one that had been very effective versus opponents until USA ran into an opportunistic Team Canada.

It’s hard to say what kind of game we can expect to see in the third-place match. Sweden played a shutdown style versus Czechia and held some powerful offensive players goalless until the final minute, and also has arguably the best goaltender in the event in Carl Lindbom. You’d expect an effort like what USA put forth versus Canada will be enough to earn bronze, and Hutson’s solid overall play will put them in good position to do that.

January 5: Bronze Medal Game: United States vs. Sweden

In a game that had 15 goals scored, Lane Hutson had just a single point. It was a critical one however: the primary assist on the overtime goal that won Team USA the bronze medal.

With Sweden playing man defence, he patiently waited for a down-low defender to rotate higher in the zone, and timed a charge to the net with that defender getting even with the one he was shadowed by. The quick burst forced two defending players to try to stop him, and that left teammate Chaz Lucius wide open to pot the rebound Hutson’s initial shot created.

The assist brought Hutson’s tournament total to four points, which ranked third on Team USA’s defence corps beheind Ryan Ufko’s 10 and Luke Hughes’s five. It was one of the rare times he went all-in on offence, showing a glimpse of his game-breaking talent after playing a more composed, conservative transition game for most of his minutes.

It was a solid tournament for him, showing that he could play a variety of styles depending on the situation, and he has a well-earned medal to show for it. He should have a chance to make next year’s team as well and have a chance to improve upon the medal’s colour in Gothenburg.

Tournament complete — Bronze medal

Oliver Kapanen

December 26: Finland vs. Switzerland

Kapanen has been named captain of Team Finland in his second World Juniors, following a silver medal performance in the summer. The team leader now has work to do with his teammates to put a surprising loss to Switzerland behind them after the tournament opened with an upset.

He finished the game as a -1, not only on the ice for the overtime goal scored by Attilio Biasca, but a step late getting to the Swiss player after leaving his station to try to win the puck on the boards. Kapanen will know he needs to do more to help his team win, and we should expect to see a better showing from Finland in their second game, though offence is still expected to be an issue.

December 27: Finland vs. Slovakia

Finland needed to be better after its opening loss to Switzerland; captain Oliver Kapanen needed to be much better after a rough first game. On Tuesday versus Slovakia, he responded with one of the best individual performances from a skater in the tournament so far.

He was effective in the faceoff circle and hard in puck battles to win possession. He registered three shots in the game, one of them a highlight-reel wraparound for his first goal.

He added an assist on the next Finnish goal to end the day with two points, and claimed the player of the game honour following the 5-2 win that put Finland back on track.

December 29: Finland vs. Latvia

Latvia gave Team USA a scare in its first game of the tournament, and they held their own versus Finland on Thursday as well. The Latvians outshot the Finns in the game, but couldn’t get any goals for their effort, and lost 3-0.

Kapanen was relied upon to take key faceoffs in the game and played nearly 20 minutes, and was busiest in the third period when Finland wanted to ensure there would be no comeback. He went 9-7 at the dot in the game, and had two shots on goal.

Finland sits at the top of Group B and can seal that position with a win over the United States on Saturday. Kapanen will be the most-used forward in that game as well as his country tries to go into the quarter-finals on a winning note.

December 31: Finland vs. United States

New Year’s Eve didn’t go the way Finland had hoped. They went into their final group-stage game in first place, and ended up second in Group B following a 6-2 loss to the Americans.

Oliver Kapanen had three shots on goal in the game, but still finished a -1 as the Finns couldn’t stop the U.S. attack. Shots were fairly even in the game, but goaltender Aku Koskenvuo surrendered six goals on 30 shots faced.

Kapanen and his teammates will have a day to regroup and prepare for the playoff round. They’ll be first up in the quarter-finals, and will need no motivation to play their best game versus archrival Sweden.

January 2: Quarter-final #1 — Finland vs. Sweden

As had been the case in the morning match when Vinzenz Rohrer had the first goal, a Canadiens prospect got things started in the first quarter-final when Kapanen got his second of the tournament. He capitalized on a momentary lapse in concentration from Adam Engström to collect a rebound and score.

The day started well for Kapanen, but ended poorly for Finland’s captain. He was one of the players tasked with locking the game down in the final minutes, when Sweden found a tying goal with 3:30 remaining. Kapanen and the Finns had a chance to retake the lead on a power play in the final two minutes, but it was Sweden’s captain, Victor Stjernborg, who took the puck away at his blue line and went down the ice to score the goal that stood as the game-winner.

From looking at a win to being dealt a crushing defeat by their rivals, it was a difficult result for Finland. For the first time in four years they won’t finish in the top four, and won’t get a chance to improve upon the silver medal they earned in August.

Tournament complete

Adam Engström

December 26: Sweden vs. Austria

Austria was no match for the Swedes in the second game of the competition, falling by an 11-0 score. Every single skater for Sweden earned a plus in the game, and Engström ended at +4. Swedish head coach Magnus Havelid didn’t have to tax any of his players in the blowout, with the game-high being 18:30 for Axel Sandin Pellikka. Engström, who began the game on the top pairing, punched out at 15:37.

He had secondary assists on goals six and seven for Sweden, taking the points lead among Habs prospects after one day. He’ll be fresh for the next game on Tuesday afternoon when the team may need to play a bit more defence.

December 27: Sweden vs. Germany

In the final seconds of the first period of Sweden’s game versus Germany, Engström shot the puck from the point, and it appeared to take a deflection off one of his teammates before going in the net. The IIHf rarely scrutinizes such plays after the fact to award the proper credit, so the goal remains on Engström’s stat line, his third point to go with two assists from the opening match. The game proved to be a goalie duel between Carl Lindbom and Nikita Quapp, and Engstrõm’s goal was the only one scored.

Despite how closely contested the game was compared to the 11-0 win a day earlier, Sweden’s head coach once more distributed the ice time fairly evenly. Six defencemen played at least 16 minutes, and the highest total was under 21. Engström ended toward the lower end of the range at 17:08, but it’s hard to find many faults with a player currently tied for seventh in tournament scoring.

December 29: Sweden vs. Czechia

Sweden’s perfect record was put on the line versus Czechia in a battle of two unbeaten teams. Both teams managed to avoid a regulation loss in the contest as it went to overtime, where Sweden potted the winner to remain the only team without a loss. It’s a familiar situation for the country that usually handles the competition easily in the preliminary portion.

Engström played 18:35 in the game and was once again a plus player. He ranks just behind Connor Bedard and Joshua Roy for the tournament lead in plus/minus at +6, a reliable defender that his coach can lean on.

The next test for Engström and the rest of Sweden’s defence is to keep the pluses for those Canadians from rising further in the final match of the group stage on Saturday. A win over Canada will lock up first place in Group A for the Swedes.

December 31: Sweden vs. Canada

Engström’s most notable moment of the final group-stage game versus Canada was an ignoble one. He got his feet crossed up while playing man defence along the boards early in the third period, and a deficit of two goals grew to three moments later. It wasn’t the direct cause of the goal, but played a hand in wiping out any chance of a comeback for the Swedes mere seconds into the final period.

In general, Sweden had a tough time creating chances save for during the second period when they pounced on some overaggressive play from Canada for a few odd-man rushes. They were outclassed in the other two frames and came up short in their quest to go undefeated in the preliminary round.

The nation hasn’t exactly turned those early tournament sweeps into championships in its recent history, so perhaps it’s not a bad thing that Sweden ends up in this place and has a tougher route to the final as a result. A bit of adversity may bring something more out of the club on its path to gold.

January 2: Quarter-final #1 — Sweden vs. Finland

Things got off to an inauspicious start for Engström and the Swedes in their quarter-final matchup with Finland. He lost track of his man, Oliver Kapanen, for just long enough for his fellow Habs prospect to open the scoring in the game.

From there, Leo Carlsson, a top prospect for the 2023 NHL Draft, took the team on his shoulders with one tying goal late in the first period, and then another in the final minutes of the third period.

Forced to contend with a late penalty, Engström was one of the four Swedes on the ice when captain Victor Stjernborg scored a short-handed goal to turn the game on its head.

Engström was back out for the final minute of play when the Finns had a two-skater advantage with their goalie pulled. First he made a diving play to the post to stop a wraparound attempt that also knocked the net off to cause a stoppage for his team. With play resumed his defensive play prevented Finland from getting a shot on goal as the Swedes held on to advance to the next round.

January 4: Semifinal #1 — Sweden vs. Czechia

Sweden came up short of its goal once again, falling in the semifinal and losing a chance to play for a gold medal. It came in heart-breaking fashion for them as they allowed a late tying goal in regulation and then the winner in overtime with a minute left on the clock.

Head coach Magnus Havelid decided to play with six defencemen (Calle Odelius was dressed but didn’t see a shift) and Engström ranked last among those six. Once again he saw his minutes go up toward the end of the game when the Swedes were protecting their lead, but he wasn’t on the ice for the late tying goal. He watched all three goals scored in the game from the bench, including Jiri Kulich’s game-winner.

He and his teammates will have to regroup and try to win a bronze medal on Thursday. At the very least they should have the crowd on their side as they play a team from the United States that the Canadian fans like to root against.

January 5: Bronze Medal Game — Sweden vs. United States

The first period of the third-place match went about how you’d expect a game between two teams that has missed the chance at gold to go; a 1-0 score after 20 minutes of play.

In the second period, all Halifax broke loose.

Sweden and Team USA combined for nine goals in the wildest period of the entire tournament. Another four were added in the third period, including a tying goal from the Swedes with 22 seconds on the clock.

It was the opposite scenario Sweden had experienced the day before as Czechia found a late equalizer on them, but the result ended up being the same as the Swedes fell in overtime, finishing fourth in the tournament.

Through all of that offence — eight goals for Team USA and seven for Sweden — Engström didn’t record a point, though he did have two shots on net. He was on the ice for the winning goal for Team USA, helping to defend an initial net-drive from the Americans but unable to prevent the follow-up chance.

Tournament complete

Vinzenz Rohrer

December 26: Austria vs. Sweden

Rohrer was a surprise omission from the lineup just before Austria’s game with Sweden. We learned that he hadn’t been feeling well and therefore didn’t head to the arena for the game, which ended up being a blowout at the hands of the Swedes.

We’ll hope this isn’t a major illness for Austria’s sparkplug, and that he has recovered in time for the team’s game on Tuesday.

December 27: Austria vs. Czechia

The return of Rohrer to the lineup didn’t do much to change Austria’s fortunes. A day after dropping a game 11-0 to Sweden, they were soundly defeated once more, surrendering more goals (nine) than they recorded shots (eight).

The only NHL-drafted player on Austria’s roster, Rohrer played the most minutes of any skater on the team and miraculously escaped without being on the ice for a goal. He registered one of the eight shots on Czech goaltender Tomáš Suchánek, but couldn’t snap the nation’s goalless streak that stretched to two full games.

At this point, the realistic goal for the Austrians is probably just to score a goal in their two remaining games of the group stage. They seem destined to wind up in the relegation round, and it’s difficult to envision them sticking around in the Top Division for 2024.

December 29: Austria vs. Canada

There was no fun to be had for Austria in its third game of the tournament either as it saw a double-digit goal total go up on the scoreboard yet again, an 11-0 loss to Canada.

Rohrer was sent out repeated to try to win faceoffs and give his team a chance to play with the puck, but he was 5-for-23 versus Canada’s centres and ended the game with a -3 goal differential. With the game out of reach early, Rohrer’s minutes were reduced the rest of the way, perhaps as the coaches attempted to save him for their final chance to avoid the relegation series on Friday evening versus Germany.

December 30: Austria vs. Germany

Austria was not just pointless with three regulation losses heading into their final group-stage game, but goalless as well. Down 3-0 in the second period versus Germany and heading for another lopsided loss, they finally found the net.

Rohrer didn’t do much to set up the goal, just handed the puck off to Ian Scherzer and watched an individual effort culminate in a power-play goal. Rohrer got credit for the primary assist, and provided the primary hug for his team’s first goal-scorer.

The centreman did do a lot of work throughout the game, playing 27:26 on the day, 10:20 of that coming in the third period as Austria desperately tried to come back for a critical win. . They went on to score again, but lost 4-2 to end up in the best-of-three relegation series.

January 2: Relegation Game #1 — Austria vs. Latvia

Austria started the best-of-three relegation series very well, opening the scoring just over five minutes in. They held that lead for over 10 minutes before Latvia tied the game on the power play, but before the period was up Austria was back in the lead, thanks to the first goal of the tournament from Rohrer.

It wasn’t until late in the second period that the 2-1 lead was erased, and then Latvia added two in quick succession midway through the third to put the offensively challenged Austrians in a tough spot, then sealed it with a minute to go by scoring an empty-netter for a 5-2 win.

Austria gets another day of rest, which is good news for Rohrer who played 23:31 in the morning match. His team has to win the next game on Wednesday to not just stay alive in this tournament, but to have a shot at maintaining its spot in the IIHF’s Top Division.

January 4: Relegation Game #2 — Austria vs. Latvia

Down 4-0 with five minutes to go in the third period of Wednesday’s game, Austria pulled its goalie and launched a spirited comeback bid. It started with 4:44 remaining when Rohrer threw a puck toward the goal, and Luca Auer batted it into the net.

Finn van Ee scored with 2:35 to play as the same six skaters were sent back out, giving his country a bit of hope that they could come all the way back. That was as close as they got however, a third straight game scoring two goals but giving up too many to make them stand. Austria lost the best-of-three relegation series 2-0, and will be demoted to the IIHF’s Division IA for next year’s tournaments.

Already the most-used player on the team, Rohrer’s usage was ratcheted up in the must-win contest to 27:16. In the end, he was only a dozen minutes behind the team lead for the tournament despite missing the opening game with an illness. His final stat line of one goal and two assists may not be all that impressive, but the fact that he finished with a team-best -3 rating on a squad thoroughly outclassed on the scoreboard was a notable accomplishment.

It’s obvious that Austria didn’t really belong at the top level, strung along in the main group by the pandemic scrubbing the lower championships. Next year the team will be among more fitting competition, and if Rohrer is part of that team, he can draw upon his experience this winter to help his country battle its way back.

Tournament complete

Owen Beck

January 2: Quarter-final #4 vs. Slovakia

Owen Beck was called up to Team Canada following a serious injury for Colton Dach in Saturday’s game. It took a while for him to get tapped for his first shift, but when he got that opportunity late in the opening period, he started it with a shot on goal and ended it by drawing a slashing call. He only received one more shift the rest of the night, ending with 1:41 of ice time.

Canada struggled with faceoffs all night long, making life more difficult on themselves than it probably needed to be. That’s one area of the game that Beck excels in, and it was perplexing why he wasn’t at least deployed as a faceoff specialist to win some critical draws. Perhaps that’s something the coaching staff will consider for their new 13th forward in the semifinals.

January 4: Semifinal #2 — Canada vs. United States

A game after Canada was outperformed at the faceoff dot, Beck took on more of a role in the semifinal. He played three minutes in each period, slowly taking over a fourth-line spot. He brought a physical brand of hockey to the game, causing turnovers when he forced Team USA’s more offensive defencemen to rush their plays.

He earned a point for his efforts, a secondary assist on Canada’s fifth goal as he got the puck across the top of the crease for an Adam Fantilli shot, with the rebound netted by Brandt Clarke. He could have had another point on a similar play earlier in the game, but Fantilli’s shot rang off the goal post.

It was somewhat surprising when Beck was originally cut from the main roster, and in the semifinal he showed that he had the skill set to be a depth scoring option, which is something the Americans couldn’t match despite their overall possession dominance.

After this performance, you have to expect his role will only increase in the championship game as the Canadians need everyone playing at their best to overcome a Czech team that has already beaten them at this event.

January 5: Gold Medal Game: Canada vs. Czechia

Beck did not get more minutes in the championship final following his great performance versus the United States the previous night. On Thursday evening he played just 2:46, though he had at least one shift in all three periods of regulation.

He will be happy to have a gold medal, though probably not satisfied that he played such a minor role in winning it. Perhaps next year he’ll be back with the team, and in a larger role to help Canada go for the threepeat.

Tournament complete — Gold medal