Without the likes of Sean Monahan, Morgan Klimchuk, and Emile Poirier, Team Canada has started off slow in the World Juniors so far. Yes, Team Canada won their first game against Germany by a score of 7-2, but today’s tilt was harder fought.
Team Canada took on the Czech Republic earlier and, although the first and second periods were bland and uninspiring, the third period opened up both teams as they fought back and forth for the entire 20 minutes. With a 4-4 tie after the third period, Canada and the Czechs went into overtime, which solved nothing.
With Marek Langhamer (Medicine Hat Tigers) in net for the Czech Republic and Jake Paterson (Saginaw Spirit) in goal for Team Canada, it was a battle of the netminders that would choose this winner.
Jonathan Drouin, who plays for the Halifax Moosehaeads and was a 2013 Entry Draft pick by the Tampa Bay Lightning, shot first and put Team Canada on the board to start the shootout. Ondrej Kase shot first for the Czech Republic but was stonewalled by Paterson.
Nicolas Petan, who plays for the Portland Winterhawks and was a 2013 Entry Draft pick for the Winnipeg Jets, was stopped by Langhamer. The Czechs tied Team Canada when Pastrnak scored on Paterson.
It all came down to the last two shooters in the first round of the shootout. Connor McDavid, who plays for the Eerie Otters and will be eligible for the 2015 Entry Draft, took a shot but was stopped by Langhamer. Simon took a shot on Paterson and won the game for the Czech Republic with a score of 5-4.
Team Canada plays Slovakia Monday morning.
Team USA seems to be having better luck this year at the World Juniors. Flames prospect, Jon Gillies, the starting goalie for Team USA, is proving to the Flames organization and to the world that he is ready to take on the challenge of NHL hockey.
Thursday, Gillies made 23 saves and led his team to a 5-1 win over the Czech Republic. With 27 saves in today’s game, he got his second win in the World Juniors when Team USA won over Team Slovakia by a score of 6-3.
Tomorrow they play Germany and my prediction is that Gillies will do it all again and lead his team to a 3-0 record in the tournament so far.