Sunday, June 23, 2024

Canadian team opens World Junior Hockey Championship with victory over Finland

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Moose Jaw Warriors’ Matejczuk and Jaeger get Canada off to a strong start to a 5-2 win in the tournament.

Moose Jaw Warriors’ Denton Matejczak, Brayden Jaeger and Team Canada are among the favorites to open the 2024 World Junior Hockey Championship.

Canada scored a goal in each period and added two empty-netters for a 5-2 victory in the tournament’s first game Tuesday morning in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Both players played important roles throughout the tournament, with Matejczuk assisting on Canada’s first goal and Jaeger playing a key role on the penalty kick.

The Warriors captain played in a top defensive duo with Maverick Lamoureux (Drummondville, QMJHL), while Jaeger played on the fourth line alongside Mackin Celebrini (Boston U.) and Matthew Wood (Swift Current, WHL). .

It didn’t take long for Jaeger and Matejczuk to get going, and Finland’s first chance on the power play gave the Warriors duo their first chance to score.

Jaeger intercepted a cross-zone pass at the top of the circle, putting him in a 2-on-1 with Matejczuk, but the Columbus Blue Jackets first-rounder was unable to hit Finnish netminder Niklas Kokko for a poor shot. There wasn’t.

The first period was otherwise quiet for most of the first period, with Matthew Poitras (Halifax, QMJHL) having the best chance to end a 3-on-2 with seven minutes left, only for Cocco to make a great glove save. was.

Matthew Savoie (Wenatchee, WHL) and Celebrini also had big chances midway through the period.

All of those chances paled in comparison to the one Leni Hamenaho had with four minutes left. Leni Hamenaho was on the receiving end in a 2-0 situation, but was completely taken by the glove of Canadian goaltender Matisse Rousseau (Halifax, QMJHL).

Sure enough, Canada joined in soon after.

The scene is familiar to Warrior fans, too, as Matejczuk dances along the line, then passes to Lamoureux, who fires a shot on goal with 3:36 left in the Brandon Wheat Kings. forward Nate Danielson bounced it into the net. opening frame.

Finland started attacking in the first five minutes of the second period and created some great chances, including an early 4-on-1, but their shots went wide of the goal.

But Rousseau persevered, and as Canada got going, Jourdan Dumais (Halifax, QMJHL) had a great chance to make it 2-0 midway through the period, but his breakaway shot missed the post.

A few minutes later, Owen Allard (Sault Ste. Marie, OHL) fired a shot from the frame that hit the post, but bounced off the ball and into the net, giving the Reds a two-point lead with 6 minutes and 29 seconds remaining.

Another penalty for the Canadian team gave Finland a chance to fight back, but two minutes after Allard’s goal, Finland fought back when Aleksanteri Kaskim√§ki was left alone in front of the Canadian net and forced a shot that hit the post. gave me a chance to.

Canada had several chances early in the third period, but got the goal at 13:22 when Celebrini hit a shot off the crossbar in the first few minutes. The 17-year-old slotted home a rebound that wasn’t initially called a goal, but after a lengthy review, it was ultimately marked as Celebrini’s first of many goals at the World Juniors. .

In the final six minutes, Finland gave Finland every chance of a comeback with two power plays, but a solid penalty kill (both Jaeger and Matejczuk saw significant time in the remaining minutes) allowed Canada to score both I ruined my chance.

Finland got within striking distance, but Poitras and Lamoureux each blanked the net in the final two minutes, and Jere Lasila made it 6-on-5 with 1:04 left.

Canada fired 22 shots at Kokko and Finland fired 17 shots at Rousseau.

Overall, Matejczuk logged the most ice time of any Canadian player with 16 minutes, 55 seconds, a plus-two finish, while Jaeger was on the ice for 7 minutes, 36 seconds.

The pre-tournament went well for both players, with Canada winning an 8-0 exhibition game against Denmark’s under-25 team on December 19th. Matejczuk had goals in the second and third periods, and Jaeger had a goal in the second frame, but finished with two points.

Matejczuk also had two assists in Canada’s 6-3 win over Switzerland on Dec. 22, but both players recorded two assists in Canada’s final training game on Dec. 23, a 6-5 overtime loss to the United States. Neither made it to the scoresheet.

Canada will be back in action Wednesday afternoon against Latvia. Puck drop is at 12:30pm Moose Jaw time and the game can be found on TSN.

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