Canada needed an answer after a miserable 48 hours.
Connor Bedard, as he has so often in his young career, delivered with deadly precision.
The 17-year-old phenom had a hat-trick and four assists on Wednesday as the host country got back on track in the world youth hockey championship with an emphatic 11-2 victory over Germany.
“Incredible game,” said Canadian captain Shane Wright. “Pretty crazy what he’s doing out there. Special night.”
Bedard’s seven-point performance tied a Canadian record for a single game on a night when favorites in the men’s under-20 exhibition needed an answer after Monday’s embarrassing 5-2 loss to the Czech Republic.
“It’s great,” the presumed No. 1 pick in the 2023 NHL draft said of joining Dave Andreychuk (1983), Brenden Morrow (1999), Mike Cammalleri (2002) and Gabriel Bourque (2010) on the list of seven. Canada points. “But that’s not a big problem for me. It’s good to get the win.”
“I had a couple of pretty lucky ones. Just one of those nights.”
LOOK l Bedard’s 3 goals and 4 assists lead Canada to defeat Germany:
Bedard now has 12 all-time world youth goals, two behind Jordan Eberle’s national record.
“I’ll send him a text saying he’s got a guy on his heels,” Wright said of Eberle, his teammate on the NHL’s Seattle Kraken. “I don’t think we’re going to focus too much on that, but it will be special if he hits them on the road.”
“He was on fire … the shot was unreal,” Canadian head coach Dennis Williams added of Bedard. “Her creativity from him and poise from him…great night.
Dylan Guenther also had a hat-trick, all passes from Bedard, while Logan Stankoven added a goal and two assists.
Wright, Brandt Clarke and Joshua Roy each had a goal and an assist, and Zack Ostapchuk also scored.
Olen Zellweger contributed three assists as Williams shook up three of his forward lines, including the division of Bedard and Wright, after a disjointed and disjointed effort against the Czechs.
“We arrived much more determined,” said the coach. “I played tighter as a group.”
Thomas Milic made 14 saves in his first junior world start for Canada. Roman Kechter and Philip Sinn answered for Germany, who received 30 saves from Simon Wolf before being replaced by Rihards Babulis for the third period on a mercy pull. Babulis finished with 11 saves.
“We were very hungry,” Bedard said. “That was a great way to come back.”
Canada, which improved to 16-0 all-time against the Germans, will now pivot quickly to face Austria, outscored 20-0 in their two tournament games, on Thursday at the Scotiabank Centre.
After a 1-0 loss to Sweden on Tuesday, Germany is free on Thursday before facing Austria on Friday.
A talent-rich team loaded with nine first-round NHL draft picks, plus Bedard and fellow high-flying prospect Adam Fantilli, Canada were stunned by the Czechs in an uninspired opening act that left the powerhouse nation in search for answers.
That included players questioning their own readiness and preparation, while Fantilli and Bedard tried and failed early on “The Michigan’s” lacrosse-style move, sequences later seen as symptomatic of the Canadians’ loose approach against an underdog opponent.
There would be no repetition.
“We don’t change our game based on the score,” Guenther said. “I love that…it was amazing.”
The Arizona Coyotes forward opened things up with a power play in the first period of a Bedard broadcast before Ketcher fired through Milic.
Wright was credited with his second goal of the tournament with another man’s advantage when a German defender swept the puck into his own net.
Bedard, who scored four goals in an 11-2 win over Austria a year ago just the day before the tournament was shelved due to COVID-19, made it 3-1 when he took a stretched pass past Wolf, and got another early in the second on a goal error.
Wright said Bedard could probably put up a couple of points a night in the NHL right now.
“Unbelievable,” said the No. 4 pick in the 2022 draft. “I haven’t seen many individual performances like that. Pretty special.”
Guenther added: “He’s going to be an impact player there, I guess, right away.”
Bedard capped his hat-trick goal on another power play through a screen before Rayan Bettahar was assessed a match penalty and sent off for an illegal head check on Fantilli.
That’s when the floodgates really opened.
Guenther scored his second on a slick drive by Bedard to make it 6-1 and Clarke fired a single shot against a German defender.
Bedard then set up Guenther for his third with the same man advantage and Stankoven added another late in the period for a 9-1 lead over 40 minutes.
Sinn got a late consolation goal on a German power play to close out a night that saw Canada recalibrate after an awkward two days.
“That’s how we play hockey,” Wright said. “The three periods, the 60 minutes, that was Team Canada hockey. We were hoping for a make-up game and that’s exactly what we got.”
“Really proud of our effort.”
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