If you were to ask Pierre-Luc Dubois and Adam Lowry, they’d likely say they’d rather have completed in the Stanley Cup Playoffs rather than the 2022 IIHF World Championship in Finland.
Despite that, the pair of centres — two of five Jets’ players or prospects to suit up for their countries — were both were instrumental to Canada’s silver-medal win.
Dubois Dominates on Top Line
The pending RFA kept the momentum from his bounce-back 60-point 2021-22 season going, and strengthened the case for a lucrative contract extension this summer even further.
The 23-year-old power forward was nothing less than dominant throughout the tournament while skating as the first-line centre with two other electric young players in Dylan Cozens on his left and Drake Batherson on his right.
Dubois recorded seven goals and six assists for 13 points and a plus-11 rating in 10 games, finishing second on the team in points and third in the tournament. This included three power play markers and one game-winning goal.
He had a trio of two-goal games — against Germany to open the tournament on May 13, against Slovakia on May 16, and against and France on May 24. He was held off the scoresheet just three times.
Perhaps his best performance of the tournament came in the quarterfinal against Sweden. He scored in the third period as part of Canada’s unlikely comeback from down 3-0 after two periods. He also had a hand in the overtime game-winner, dishing out the secondary assist on Batherson’s tally that sent Canada to the semifinals.
Dubois’ effort levels for the Jets this season were always off the chart and he displayed the same type drive representing Canada. If there was any doubt going into the tournament that his favourite place to be is in the thick of things, there can be none after.
Lowry a Scoring Threat on Third Line
Lowry had a slow first-half for the Jets in 2021-22, recording just eight points (3 goals, 5 assists) in his first 41 games through the end of January. He picked it up in the second half, finishing the season with 13 goals and eight assists for 21 points.
He had no such problems getting started in Finland, assisting Canada’s first goal of the tournament against Germany. The 29-year-old operated at nearly a point-per-game clip on the third line with Max Comtois to his left and Nicholas Roy, ending the tournament with five goals and four assists for nine points.
Lowry was a shorthanded scoring threat for the Jets’ throughout the season, tallying three. A penalty-kill mainstay for Canada, he kept that trend going, scoring a shorthanded breakaway marker against Switzerland.
Schmidt Grabs Bronze, Ehlers Averages a Point-Per-Game
Jets’ defenseman Nate Schmidt suited up for the United States, recording two goals and four assists for six points. He fell just short of a medal as the U.S. was thumped by Czechia 8-4 in the bronze medal game. Schmidt, the oldest member of the U.S. squad at 30 years old, was among the tournament’s ice-time leaders.
Nikolaj Ehlers and Denmark did not qualify for the knockout round. Despite that, the tournament was successful for the speedy forward as he put up a point per game, recording one goal and six assists in seven contests.
Berlin native and Manitoba Moose star defenseman Leon Gawanke joined Germany late after the Moose were eliminated by the Milwaukee Admirals in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs. The 22-year-old played in four games and recorded one assist, with his team being eliminated in the quarterfinals by Czechia.
Jets Hope to Be on Different Stage Next May
While Dubois and Lowry didn’t go home with gold, falling 4-3 in overtime to the host Finns in the Gold Medal game, they can feel proud both of the way they represented their country to the best of their abilities and second for showing on the world stage how electric Jets players can be.
Perhaps in 2022-23, under a new head coach who brings a fresh outlook and ideas, Dubois, Lowry, and the rest of the Jets can put on these types of performances in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Declan Schroeder is a 27-year-old communications specialist and freelance journalist in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He holds a diploma in Creative Communications with a major in journalism from Red River College and a bachelors in Rhetoric and Communications from the University of Winnipeg.
Deeply rooted in the city’s hockey culture, the original Jets skipped town when he was two and the 2.0 version came onto the scene when he was 17.