To hockey fans, Boxing Day will always signify the start of the World Junior tournament more than long lineups and killer deals. Of course, long lineups could also be found at Rogers Arena this year as fans piled in to see Canada play Denmark.
They weren’t disappointed either (unless they were cheering for the away squad), as Canada romped Denmark 14-0. Earlier in the day, the Czech Republic beat Switzerland 2-1 in overtime, and a ferry trip away in Victoria, Team USA topped Slovakia by the same score, except in regulation.
Here are a few things that stood out to us on the first day of the tournament.
- Vancouver Canucks prospect Michael DiPietro didn’t have to do too much in his first contest, but it’ll look good on the scoresheet regardless. The goaltender stopped 12 shots, including a breakaway opportunity in the third, and registered a shutout. Of course, almost all of the play was in the other end, as Team Canada threw 42 shots on Denmark. A harder test likely awaits tomorrow against Switzerland, though DiPietro probably won’t be back in the pipes until Saturday’s contest against the Czech Republic.
- Team USA boasts two Canucks prospects this year, and defenceman Quinn Hughes and forward Tyler Madden both had their moments in their team’s win. Madden was all over the ice in the first period especially, acting as a spark plug for the talented roster. Former NHLer John Madden's son wasn’t a lock to make the team, but he sure looked like one of the club’s best players. He threw five shots on net and also had an assist. Meanwhile, Hughes was his usual smooth-skating self. The rearguard had three shots and was effective in running USA’s powerplay.
- Vancouver mayor Kennedy Stewart was on hand to give out player-of-the-game honours. There wasn’t really a chance for the crowd to react to his presence, but the same can’t be said for premier John Horgan, who showed up on the videotron. A little more than a year into his term, the B.C. NDP leader was booed loudly.
- There were large stretches where it seemed like Cody Glass was the best player on the ice for Team Canada. The Vegas Golden Knights prospect effortlessly glided through Team Denmark time after time. He’s lighting up the WHL for the Portland Winterhawks this year and he should be something close to a lock for a top-six (or at least top-nine) spot next year with the big club.
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