Connor McMichael, Team Canada Rebound With 4-1 Win Over Germany

After their worst defeat in tournament history on Saturday at the hands of Team Russia 6-0, Team Canada faced Germany in their third game of the World Junior Championship Tournament in the Czech Republic. Today the Canadian squad, without Joe Veleno and Alexis Lafreniere, looked more dangerous and cohesive, skating to a relatively easy 4-1 win over the German club.

Head coach Dale Hunter shuffled his lines and had Connor McMichael (London OHL/ Washington NHL) moved up to the first line with Nolan Foote (Kelowna WHL/ Tampa NHL) and Barrett Hayton (Arizona NHL).

Canada had a much better team game today, playing a relentless checking style that kept the Germans at bay most of the game. When the Canadians failed to score on their first powerplay chance midway through the first period they continued to pressure scoring the first goal of the game for the first time in the tournament at 11:50. Tampa Bay prospect Nolan Foote wired a wrist shot past German goalie Hendrik Hane for his second goal of the tournament, assisted by Kevin Bahl (Ottawa OHL/New Jersey NHL).

Canada killed off their only penalty of the frame near the end of the period when Aidan Dudas (Owen Sound OHL/ L.A. NHL) was sent off for tripping.

While Germany had some decent zone-time and had Canada’s first penalty-killing unit out for a minute and a half of zone time, they could not get any quality chances as Canada allowed just two shots from the high-danger area.

The teams went to the first intermission with Canada holding a lead for the first time after an opening period.

With continued pressure in the second, it was Canada scoring twice and taking control of the game. After Joel Hofer (Portland WHL) made a huge save on a two-on-one, Liam Foudy (London OHL/Columbus NHL) scored on a low shot off the post beating Hane. Foudy had taken a penalty earlier in the period and repaid his teammates with his first goal of the tournament at 12:24.

Germany would get into penalty trouble over the next couple minutes and Canada made it count. Connor McMichael (London OHL/Washington NHL) almost scored on the two-man advantage when he took a pass down low off to the right side of the German goal and drove the crease forcing a great save by Hane.

After the next face-off was won by Canada, Calen Addison (Lethbridge WHL/Pittsburgh NHL) took a pass from Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge WHL/Buffalo NHL) and wired a wicked slap shot past a partially screened goaltender giving Canada the 3-0 lead. Foote also got an assist on the play.

Canada played a solid third period playing good defence allowing Germany very little opportunity to get back in the game. The first shot of the period on Hofer by Germany did not happen until eight minutes in as the Canadians checked well and possessed the puck to control the time.

Late in the game, Hofer’s shutout was unfortunately broken while Germany was on a five-on-three powerplay as Canada took three consecutive penalties in the last three minutes of the game.

Canada’s Ty Dellandrea sealed the 4-1 win with an empty-net goal. Foudy was credited with his second point of the game on an assist.

Connor McMichael was moved up to the first line with Nolan Foote and Barrett Hayton playing on the right-wing. He had a couple of good chances including almost scoring his second of the tournament while on the five-on-three powerplay in the second.

Coach Dale Hunter had McMichael out in all situations as he saw time on the second powerplay and penalty-killing units finishing even with no points. He totalled 23 shifts and over 18 minutes of ice-time while seeing a regular shift and his line did not see any quality scoring chances against.

Hunter said to TSN after the game: “ The boys worked hard and created lots of scoring chances. Some depth players on the fourth line were moved up (McMichael) and they performed well.”

Next up for the Canadians is against the home Czech Republic squad tomorrow at 1 PM EST in the last preliminary game. The game will feature Washington’s two prospects in the tournament as McMichael and Martin Has will face-off against each other for the first time.

By Marcus Boutilier

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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