On Sunday, the Buffalo Sabres‘ No. 1 overall pick from the 2021 NHL Entry Draft made Canadian history in his IIHF World Junior Championship debut. Owen Power became the first Team Canada defenseman ever to record a hat trick in a World Juniors game. His second goal of the night also marked the game-winner as Canada took down Czechia, 6-3.
Power Leads Team Canada Comeback From 3-1 Deficit
The Canadians found themselves in a hole early in the game, trailing 3-1 just 12:23 into the first period following a scoring surge from the Czechs. After Canada called a timeout to regroup, Power wasted no time getting his country back on the board, scoring his first goal of the night just 23 seconds after Czechia’s third consecutive goal.
By the end of the first period, Canada tied the game up at 3-3. Not long into the second period, Power put his country on his back again, scoring 8:50 into the frame to give Canada its second lead of the game, 4-3. After the Czechs grabbed momentum early in the game, the pendulum had completely swung back into Canada’s favor with Power’s second goal of the night.
Just 1:25 after giving Canada the lead, Power made history with his third goal of the game, becoming the first Canadian defenseman in World Juniors history to score a hat trick. Canada went on to win the game, 6-3, on Power’s historic night. It was about as amazing of a tournament debut anyone could ask for and certainly got Sabres fans and Canadians excited to see what else the 19-year-old defenseman has in store.
Power Expected to Make NHL Debut With Sabres Next Season
Power joins Canada amid an incredible sophomore NCAA season with the Michigan Wolverines. In 18 games, the Mississauga, Ontario, native has 23 points (three goals, 20 assists) in 18 games. His outstanding play with Michigan and Canada could soon lead to his NHL debut with the Sabres, likely next season.
Ahead of the 2021-22 NHL season, there was discussion whether or not Power was ready to make his debut in the big league this season or not. Ultimately, Power and Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams decided it would be best for him to return for another season at Michigan, which is proving to be a great decision so far.
“[The NHL] is a tough league, so I think the one mistake we don’t want to make is putting someone in a position that they’re just treading water,” Adams told ESPN. “We want them to be ready to play.”
Power is stepping up in big ways, both for the Wolverines and his home country of Canada. He is getting to live incredible experiences he may not have gained if he were in the NHL this year. It is easy to see why he was on the fence about where he would play this season with his immense success. As he continues building confidence and breaking records, expect him to don the Sabres’ royal blue and gold in the near future, likely for Buffalo’s opening game of the 2022-23 season.
After a historic performance in his World Juniors debut, Power is back in action on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. ET to take on Team Austria. Canada is looking to win gold at the tournament for the first time since 2020. If they pull off the feat, Power will have his second gold medal as a teenager, also winning gold with Canada at the 2021 IIHF World Championship. Expect him to keep turning heads at this year’s World Juniors as he continues putting together a stellar season.
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Tom Pepper is a diehard Montréal Canadiens fan, writing NHL and IIHF content at The Hockey Writers since 2020.