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Photo Credit: Hockey Canada

World Junior Summer Showcase: Canada Red vs USA White

The World Junior Summer Showcase has been underway for a couple of days now with the USA splitting their squad for games versus Finland and Sweden.

Canada joined the fray today with their split squad to play against the States split squads.

Today’s first matchup was Canada Red taking on USA White, and it didn’t go well. Canada was dominated throughout the game.

Over the next few days, I will do some game reports with highlights and thoughts. Unfortunately, I may not be able to see every game, but I will do my best to cover as many games as I can.

Here is the full roster for Team Canada Red

 

Image: Hockey Canada Twitter

Here is the full roster for Team USA White:

Image: USA Hockey

The Canucks were represented by Kole Line (33rd overall – 2017 NHL Entry Draft) and Jonah Gadjovich (55th overall – 2017 NHL Entry Draft).

First Period

Both squads for Team USA has already played a couple of games and it showed early with the Americans taking it to the Canadians quickly.

The first goal was scored by Logan Brown, who jammed the puck home after Kailer Yamamoto drove the net. Casey Mittelstadt gained the zone, fed to Yamamoto and the rest was captured in the gif above.

This was the first sign of things to come as Canada never seemed to get their feet under them.

Shortly after that, Canada took a penalty and the American power play went to work. 2018 Draft eligible Quinton Hughes was the quarterback on the line with a nice dish to Mittelstadt, who goes post and in.

They did seem to wake up Canada a bit, as they finally got their first forays into the offensive zone but the US was quick on the transition and much more refined in their structure. This led to some quick turnovers and transitions that led to more chances. One of those chances, the US was able to capitalize:

The diminutive Nashville prospect Patrick Harpur was able to get a step on Nic Hague (Vegas prospect) and snap it past the goaltender. It was a well placed shot by the winger.

Down 3-0, Team Canada was able to finally get a shot on net but was short lived as Harpur showed off his playmaking abilities and patience with a pass to undrafted Max Gerlach.

At this point, you thought the dominance was over. Nope.

Nic Hague, who had an awful period, took another penality, and the Yamomoto-Brown-Mittelstadt line went to work on the PP.

The first period ended with Team USA White up 5-0 and leading in shots 12-7. USA went 2/3 on the powerplay.

Second Period

As expected, Team Canada Red was a little better in the second period. The first period showed that the US had already played and Canada had just got into Plymouth. Canada wasn’t perfect as they lacked fluidity in their defensive structures and transition. Sticking to more passive approaches that allowed the American speedsters to create chances.

The Yamamoto – Brown – Mittelstadt trio continued to do things

Although they were  held of the scoreboard in the second period, they were creating chances like that regularly. Those three were dynamite at the 2016 U18 tournament, and look to be picking up right where they left off.

Canada was able to get on the board on a goal from Buffalo Sabres prospect Cliff Pu. That back hand pass from Canucks prospect Gadjovich was a thing of beauty:

The goaltending was a little better for Canada, as Stuart Skinner took the net for the second half of the period.

Calgary Flames prospect Matthew Philips had a notable chance

Team Canada led in shots 9-5 for the second period.

Third Period

The third period picked up where the second left with Canada keeping pace with the Americans. Nashville prospect Grant Mismash took interference penalty to put Canada on the power-play.

Canada was able capitilize and get some more life with more than half of the period remaining. But the wheels feel off again.

First Mittelstadt dangled

Next, Dylan Samberg took advantage of a fortutious bounce on the powerplay

Finally, Joey Anderson finished off the nice passing play

The second half of the third period was almost as bad first half of the first. The other notable highlight from that period was the aforementioned Mismash leveling Florida Panthers first round pick Owen Tippett:

Tippett left the game, and unless I am mistaken did not return.

USA outshot Team Canada 14-8 in the final frame. The Americans ended the game outshooting the Canadians 31-24.

Notes

  • Nic Hague had a very bad first period. Out of position quite a bit and appearing to be a step behind. His lack of speed was a concern heading into the draft and part of the reason why he fell to the 2nd round.  He looked lost on a few goals including the Americans final tally.
  • USA defenceman and 2018 draft eligible Quinton Hughes was noticeable throughout the game. Not afraid to carry the puck, even when there is pressure, and seems to make that accurate pass to his teammates. He is expected to be a top 10 pick for the upcoming draft in Dallas and should be someone to keep an eye on this year. Jeremy Davis and I will be tackling the 2018 draft in the coming weeks, so at this time we will refrain from referencing his pGPS etc.
  • Can’t say enough about the Yamamoto, Brown, and Mittelstadt line. They are fun to watch, play extremely well off each other and create something out of nothing. I would be shocked if those three are not a line at the World Juniors in December.
  • This is only half of the US squad, but their speed was noticeable throughout the contest. Some of the more fleet Canadian defencemen didn’t have an issue with it, but players like Hague struggled to keep up with the waves of attack.
  • From a Canucks perspective, Gadjovich was more noticeable throughout the game. He wasn’t overly physical but was always around the net.
  • This game doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Most players haven’t played a competitive game for months, and the USA had already two contests in the books.

Full stats for the game can be found here.