Team Canada showed emotions early in Game One of the 2022 World Junior Hockey Championship, but not the ones you’d expect. The Canadians, always considered a favourite to win gold, were nervous as they squared off against Team Czechia. Although Canada scored first and controlled a lot of the game early, rare offensive chances Czechia did produce would catch Canada flatfooted. With just over 12 minutes played in the first, Canada was down 3-1.
Canada’s coach, Dave Cameron summed up the start of the game like this, “one of the things we discussed all week prior to the game as a coaching staff, we didn’t know what the hell to expect the first ten minutes.” However, Cameron called a timeout and had a clear message for his talented group, “just calm, play hockey protect the puck, make good decisions with the puck don’t try to win the whole tournament in the first ten minutes of the first game.” The message resonated, Canada, led by a hat trick by Owen Power, dominated the rest of the way skating to a convincing 6-3 victory.
Owen Power is a Powerhouse
Owen Power, the first overall pick of the 2021 Draft, became the first Canadian defenceman to record a hat trick at the World Junior Championship, “there’s been a tonne of really good players play in this tournament, I had no idea that no one got a hat trick, so yeah, just surprised,” said the Buffalo Sabres prospect. “It’s pretty special, it’s the first hat trick I’ve ever had so definitely doing it at this stage and wearing a Canadian jersey is pretty special.”
Power started the comeback, scoring just 23 seconds after Canada’s time out. “Obviously it wasn’t a great start, but I don’t think anyone was really panicking, we knew were weren’t playing great hockey. Knew we had a lot better we stayed calm and settled into the game.” I asked Power if the team was nervous or had jitters, “could’ve been both, like I said before, this is our dream to play at this stage, so it definitely could’ve been that but I just think we weren’t ready to play to start the game.”
It’s not Cameron’s First Rodeo
This is the fourth time Dave Cameron has coached Canada at the World Junior Championship and that experience paid off. Calling a time out to settle down his team was the turning point. Canada played a completely different game after by scoring five unanswered goals and shutting down Czechia, holding them to just two shots in the second period.
“The time out was huge.” said Power, “kind of settled us down and we just did a better job of keeping guys in front of us and not try to force anything or cheat for any offence, so I think after that timeout we really settled in and started playing good hockey.”
You wouldn’t expect a timeout to be a game-changer, but anything can happen at this tournament according to Cameron, “expect the unexpected. You put in a style of play for your team, but it never goes the way you draw it up. It’s your team’s ability to be able to adapt when it is not going your way.”
Last year’s tournament Canada was never behind until the gold medal game, perhaps it’s a positive to get the adversity out of the way now, “it’s always great to have adversity when you win the hockey game,” said a smiling Cameron, “adversity was good because we won the game and hopefully we can learn and grow from that.”
Bedard Moves up the Line-up
Connor Bedard, the youngest player at the tournament, started out as Canada’s 13th forward, but after a few minutes of the game, he was taking a regular shift, recording 12:23 of ice time and getting an assist on Canada’s game-tying goal. “I thought he had good jump and good legs. I thought he was physical and I thought he was good with the puck,” said Cameron.
Berard’s promotion means someone is getting demoted. Dylan Guenther, who was playing in front of his hometown crowd in Edmonton was the odd man out. The Arizona Coyotes prospect, taken ninth in the 2021 Draft, played just over two minutes in the first period, recording a shot. But he had 48 seconds of ice time for the rest of the game.
In other notable performances, Cole Perfetti had three assists and Mason McTavish registered one goal and one assist. Also, Shane Wright was nearly perfect in the face-off circle. Through two periods he had won all nine draws he had taken, but he lost the only faceoff he had in the third period. Canada has one day off before facing Austria on December 28.
All the 2022 World Junior Championship Team Information:
Austria – Team Preview – Roster
Canada – Team Preview – Roster
Czech Republic – Team Preview – Roster
Finland – Team Preview – Roster
Germany – Team Preview – Roster
Russia – Team Preview – Roster
Slovakia – Team Preview – Roster
Sweden – Team Preview – Roster
United States – Team Preview – Roster
All Your THW 2022 World Junior Championship Coverage
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Kevin Armstrong is an award-winning journalist with more than two decades of experience. He’s been rink side for World Juniors, Memorial Cups, Calder Cups and Stanley Cups. Like many Canadian kids, his earliest memories include hockey. Kevin has spent countless hours in arenas throughout the country watching all levels of the game.