Canada’s National Junior Team selection camp came to a close Sunday afternoon at the WinSport arena at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary, Alberta. The team made cuts and announced their 25-man roster for the upcoming World Junior Championship early Sunday evening. Capitals prospects Hendrix Lapierre and Vincent Iorio did not make the final roster.
The final 🇨🇦 cuts
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) December 13, 2021
Hendrix Lapierre was cut for the second consecutive year. He had no points in the two games played this weekend, but did net a nice post-game shootout goal on Saturday.
Hendrix Lapierre in the shootout following first selection camp game is money. He had no points in regulation. Game 2 tomorrow. Final roster on Monday. #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/u8KjJmQXiL
— Jon Sorensen (@jon_m_sorensen) December 12, 2021
As we noted in a piece on Friday, Lapierre was not part of the group of “locks” to make the team at the start of camp, which was a bit of a surprise. It’s difficult to understand considering his productive time spent with the Capitals earlier this fall. Regardless, Lapierre was bundled with the “prove it” group from the very start.
This year’s camp was loaded with forward talent, including 16-year-old Connor Bedard, who made the team. Bedard had six points in the two games, when no other forward had more than two points in the two games.
Big night for the line of Connor Bedard (2G 1A), Dylan Guenther (1A) and Joshua Roy (1G 1A), including this Roy-to-Bedard marker that made it 3-0 in the 3rd. 🚨🇨🇦#WorldJuniors | #OurGameIsBack | @WHLPats | @EdmOilKings | @PhoenixSherbroo pic.twitter.com/6Qq9RVM5hq
— Hockey Canada (@HockeyCanada) December 12, 2021
Lapierre showed his speed and play-making abilities on several occasions in both games, and was elevated from centering the third line on Saturday to centering the top line on Sunday. He just couldn’t convert to points when forwards all around him were making the scoresheet.
LaPierre has been somewhat sluggish and underperforming at times, in the games we’ve watched, since his return to the QMJHL. (He agrees) and thus, it’s possible he didn’t enter Canada’s camp this week at the peak of his game.
Vincent Iorio was also cut from the squad. Iorio had a decent showing on the backend in both games played this weekend, but it wasn’t enough. It was his first camp.
Iorio did continue to display his excellent outlet and stretch passing skills, as he’s done so far this season with the Brandon Wheat Kings. Team Canada may have been looking for more in the offensive zone.
Iorio had one distinct advantage over other defensemen in the camp. Jack Thompson, a right-shot Tampa Bay Lightning prospect, did not attend Canada’s selection camp due to COVID protocols and was ruled out for the World Junior team. That left just one right-shot candidate, Iorio, on the blueline.
Iorio’s cut from the team means that Team Canada will begin with only left-handed defensmen this year.
The team now heads to Banff before facing Switzerland in a pre-tournament game Dec. 19 in Red Deer.
Canada will also play exhibition games Dec. 20 against Sweden in Red Deer and Dec. 22 against Russia in Edmonton.
Selection camp invitees aren’t afforded much time to distinguish themselves. They’ll play back-to-back games against university players on Saturday and Sunday.
Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta., will play host to 11 pre-tournament games from Dec. 19-23, featuring all 10 competing teams, before the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship gets underway on Dec. 26.
Bummed to see but two young guys who shouldn’t be too down. Both of them have great potential!