Canada and the U.S. dominated in their second game of the tournament while Czechia and Finland went toe-to-toe and needed a shootout to determine a winner on Day 3 of the World Junior Hockey Championship.
The Canadian team rebounded from a sluggish performance with an 11-1 win over Slovakia, a game in which captain Mason McTavish added his name to the country’s record books.
Against Switzerland, the United States took their game to another gear that their opponent could not match as they cruised to a 7-1 victory to improve to 2-0 at the tournament.
Finland dropped a crucial point as they had to overcome a 2-0 deficit but were able to pick up the shootout win over their rival Czechia.
Here is a look at the top performances from Day 3 of the world juniors.
3rd Star: Luke Hughes, USA
Coming from a great hockey family, Luke Hughes is making most of his opportunity as one of the top defencemen for the U.S.
The younger brother of Quinn and Jack displayed his mobility and vision against Switzerland with a three-point effort. He now has five points in his first two games of the tournament — more than either of his brothers ever achieved at this event in fewer games.
Hughes leads all defenceman in scoring so far in the tournament and is tied for fourth overall.
The 18-year-old played 21:18 against the Swiss to lead the U.S. in ice time playing on the top pairing with Brock Faber. His play from this point will be a crucial part of his team’s success given the creativity he displayed, especially on Matt Coronato’s goal in the second period.
He made another top-notch set up on Thomas Bordeleau’s power-play goal in the third period as he delayed enough to get the defenders to pull towards his side of the ice.
2nd Star: Carter Mazur, USA
Coming into the tournament, Carter Mazur is looking to build off an impressive season at the University of Denver.
While he was in a scoring slump in his first NCAA season, the Detroit Red Wings prospect made a call to his NHL team’s assistant director of player development, Daniel Cleary. After that, he would go on to finish with 14 goals and 38 points in 41 games.
Those tips have now turned Mazur into a scoring machine as he accounted for two of the team’s seven goals and was also named the player of the game as the top line of Mazur, Landon Slaggert, and Thomas Bordeleau had an impressive performance against Switzerland
After a scoreless first period, Mazur wasn’t going to make any mistake on a point-blank chance in front of the net with Mackie Samoskevich making a great pass from behind the net.
With the Americans looking to add to their lead, Mazur was once again the beneficiary of a great pass from Slaggert as he made no mistake from the front of the net.
He added another assist on Slaggert’s goal later in the period for his third point of the game. Through his first two games at the world juniors, Mazur has four points and is tied for sixth in scoring.
1st Star: Mason McTavish, Canada
On a night where Canada dominated from start to finish, Mason McTavish joined some elite company with a night he’ll certainly remember for a long time.
The 19-year-old joined Mario Lemieux, Simon Gagné, Brayden Schenn, Taylor Raddysh, Maxime Comtois and teammate Connor Bedard as the only players to score four goals in a single world junior game for Canada. The tournament record for goals in a single game is held by Sweden’s Ola Rosander who had six back in 1987.
With his performance against Slovakia in a dominant win for Canada, McTavish now sits atop the scoring lead with eight points in two games after registering six points in this game.
McTavish scored his first goal of the game on a breakaway — with Canada already leading 5-0 midway through the second — making no mistake to beat Tomas Bolo, who came into the game after starter Simon Latkoczy was pulled going into the second period.
His second goal came off a great play by Joshua Roy who flipped the puck in the air to Brennan Othmann who then set up McTavish as he finished with a backhander to put Canada up 7-1. McTavish would complete the second-period hat trick, a day after Alexander Blank did the same for Germany, after a selfless pass from Roy on a 2-on-0 break.
Canada would capitalize on a turnover on McTavish’s fourth goal as Othmann set him up alone in front of the net and he made no mistake.
There was some doubt about whether McTavish would suit up for Canada after playing a fair amount of hockey last season. Making his NHL debut with the Anaheim Ducks, the third overall pick from the 2021 NHL Draft played in a total of 72 games between the NHL, AHL, OHL, Memorial Cup and the Olympics.
Instead, McTavish decided to join the team in Edmonton and take on the role as captain where he has excelled centring Canada’s top line with Bedard and and a rotation of Roy and Othmann.
Canada will now look forward to a matchup against Czechia with a chance to improve to 3-0.