WJC Pre-Tournament Recap: Dec. 23

Defenceman Jamie Drysdale (Erie Otters) scored the lone goal and Cole Perfetti (Saginaw Spirit) picked up an assist to guide Canada to a 1-0 victory over Russia in their only pre-tournament matchup ahead of the 2021 World Junior Championships.

Following a scoreless 40 minutes, Drysdale, drafted sixth overall by the Anaheim Ducks at the 2020 NHL Draft, put the puck past Russian goaltender Artur Akhtyamov 3:52 into the final frame. Perfetti, the Winnipeg Jets’ 10th overall pick in 2020, and Colorado Avalanche prospect Bowen Byram (Vancouver Giants) had assists.

Canadian goaltender Devon Levi, a Florida Panthers prospect, was named Player of the Game following his 23-save shutout. Nashville Predators first rounder Yaroslav Askarov turned aside all 22 shots he faced over the game’s opening 40 minutes before Akhtyamov, a Toronto Maple Leafs prospect, stepped in for six saves on seven shots.

Chicago Blackhawks forward Kirby Dach left the game in the third period with an injury and did not return. Nashville Predators pick Philip Tomasino (Oshawa Generals) was out of the Canadian lineup.

Canada and Russia last met in the 2020 gold medal game this past January in Ostrava, Czech Republic where Canada claimed gold following a 4-3 win.

The Canadians will begin their tournament Dec. 26 at 6pm ET against Germany while Russia will face off with USA Dec. 25 at 9:30pm ET.

Game Summary


Nick Malik (Soo Greyhounds) earned a 14-save shutout while Jaromir Pytlik (Soo Greyhounds) and Martin Has (Guelph Storm) earned two points each as the Czech Republic blanked neighbouring Slovakia 6-0 to wrap up pre-tournament play on Wednesday night.

Minnesota Wild pick Pavel Novak (Kelowna Rockets), Chicago Blackhawks prospect Michal Teply (Winnipeg ICE) and San Jose Sharks pick Adam Raska (Rimouski Oceanic) all scored first period goals for an early 3-0 lead. Pytlik, a 2020 New Jersey Devils draft pick, found the back of the net in the final minute of the second period to stretch the lead to 4-0, before Michal Gut (Everett Silvertips) and Radek Muzik capped off the win with third period markers. Has earned two assists in the win while Pytlik also pitched in with a helper.

Samuel Hlavaj (Sherbrooke Phoenix) made 17 saves on 20 shots in net for Slovakia over the game’s first 34 minutes before Simon Latkoczy stepped in for 26 saves on 29 shots.

Slovakia will look to bounce back when they open the tournament against Switzerland Dec. 25 at 2pm ET. The Czechs will take on Sweden the following day at 2pm ET.

Game Summary

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