This was probably the way that head coach Brent Sutter wanted to start off the tournament. Germany is not considered one of the stronger teams at the tournament. In fact they may be the weakest. Canada is 11-0 versus Germany at the IIHF World Junior Championship. It would be a nice easing in for the boys in white and red. After finishing fourth at last year’s tournament the Canadian team is looking for some redemption.
Sutter is the first man to coach Canada’s junior team three times. He has gone undefeated so far (12-0) in his previous two tournaments. His job this time is tougher as Canada is a young team with the most 16-year-olds (3) ever. These three (Connor McDavid, Aaron Ekblad and Sam Reinhart) youngsters are not even old enough to be draft eligible yet. Connor McDavid is two years away from this.
The coach’s first big decision was who was going to be his starting goaltender. As he only brought two goalies to camp we knew it was going to be either Jake Paterson or Habs’ draft choice, Zachary Fucale. Paterson, the team’s third goalie at last year’s tournament, seems to be number one, for the time being anyways. In a pretournament 3-0 defeat against the Swedes he played well enough to impress the coach and earn the starting job in the Canada’s first game against Germany. His first start in a Team Canada uniform did not begin as Paterson or anyone wanted.
In the three pretournament games Canada has had some trouble in the faceoff circle and this came to haunt them in the opening minutes of this contest. Despite the fact that Nic Petan won the faceoff in their own end bad luck occurred when the puck went off his skate straight to Patrick Klopper. Klopper played the puck back to Lennart Palausch and his shot deflected past Paterson off Dorian Saeftel. 1:35 into the 1st period of the game and Canada was already behind 1-0. Surrendering the first goal of the game has occurred in all four games that Canada has played together so far. Obviously they are going to have to work on their starts because it may come back to haunt them. It wasn’t going to be the case on this day, however.
Canada managed to tie the game up at 6:21 when Mathew Dumba (property of the Minnesota Wild) rushed the puck up ice and deep into the German end and then set up Josh Anderson for a goal. After some early nervous moments the Canadian team was now taking over the pace of the game and forcing Germany into taking some penalties. On their second power play opportunity Anthony Mantha (property of the Detroit Red Wings) scored what was to be his first of three goals. Mantha has been criticized due to the fact that he is not a 200 foot (meaning the whole ice) player. But when you can score goals like this guy does I think you can be an impactful and important player as well. The last 60 feet of the ice is where he makes his mark. He was the leading scorer in the QMJHL when he left for this tournament. Mantha comes from a hockey family with his grandfather being a 4-time Stanley Cup winner with the Montreal Canadiens, André Pronovost and his uncles, Marcel, Claude and Jean, were also NHLers.
A Canadian penalty to Taylor Leier led to a German power play goal of their own just before the 16 minute mark of the 1st period. Defenseman Adam Pelech gave up the puck trying to get puck out of the zone off the glass but he fanned and Dominik Kahun fed a perfect pass to a wide open Janik Moser. Paterson had no chance on the goal.
That was to be the last goal that Paterson surrendered. Canada went on to score 5 straight goals. The first two came before the end of the 1st period by Mantha and Bo Horvat (9th pick overall by the Vancouver Canucks in the last draft). Six goals in the 1st period. That is what is great about junior hockey. You usually get plenty of goals. It was a wild up and down opening 20 minutes with a lot of mistakes made by both sides.
Canada pretty much sealed the deal with two more goals in the 2nd period. Sam Reinhart got one and then Mantha completed his hat trick (the first by a Canadian player in two years) with a power play marker at the 11:28 mark of the period. On Reinhart’s goal a bad line change by the Germans allowed him to walk right in and have 3 cracks at the puck before he got it over the line.
NIc Petan rounded out the scoring in the 3rd with the only goal of the period. This was a fairly easy 7-2 victory by Canada. Canada carried the play for most of the game and German goalie Marvin Cüpper looked wiped by the end. A good start to the tournament for Canada and should up their confidence going into their next game.
Canada’s next game is Saturday against the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic were beaten 5-1 by the U.S. in their first game. Paterson is expected to be in nets for Canada once again. TSN will carry the game which will start at 11:30 a.m.
-On-Ice Officials: Referees – Rene Hradil (Czech Republic) and Jozef Kubus (Slovakia)
Linesmen – Peter Sefcik (Slovakia) and Rudolf Tosenovjan (Czech Republic)
-Goals: 1st Period:
1:35: Germany – Dorian Saeftel assisted by Lennart Palausch and Patrick Klopper
6:21: Canada – Josh Anderson assisted by Mathew Dumba
10:41: Canada – (pp) Anthony Mantha assisted by Jonathan Drouin and Curtis Lazar
15:59: Germany – (pp) Janik Moser assisted by Dominik Kahun
17:36: Canada – Anthony Mantha assisted by Derek Pouliot and Jonathan Drouin
18:29: Canada – Bo Horvat assisted by Sam Reinhart
6:45: Canada – Sam Reinhart assisted by Josh Morrissey and Connor McDavid
11:28: Canada – (pp) Anthony Mantha assisted by Jonathan Drouin and Derek Pouliot
10:13: Canada – Nic Petan assisted by Connor McDavid
-Shots on Goal: Canada – 30
Germany – 24
-Players of the Game: Canada – Anthony Mantha
Germany – Janik Moser
-Final Score: Canada – 7
Germany – 2