Canada pummels undermanned Germany into submission in WJC opener

Canada overran an understaffed, over-fulfilled German squad at the opening game of the IIHF Junior World Championship in 2021. (Codie McLachlan / Getty Images)
Who said Canada wouldn't have multiple tuning games?
In their opening competition on Boxing Day of the Junior World Championship, the Canadians overtook an exhausted and severely understaffed German squad and achieved a 16-2 final result in order to take the top position in Group A due to the goal difference.
Dylan Cozens played the most in the standings, finished a hat trick and ended the night with six points. Dawson Mercer followed with two goals and two assists, while Peyton Krebs, Philip Tomasino and Alex Newhook scored two goals each.
Canada will face Slovakia on Sunday. Both teams want to improve to 2-0 at the beginning of the tournament.
This is 2020
Aside from the issuing country on Tim Stutzle's passport, virtually every benefit that came into play belonged to Canada - from the strength of the program, to the size of the ice, to the fact that the German squad was severely affected by exposure to COVID. Suffice it to say that it didn't help that the whole of Germany had 14 skaters who all competed against each other in the second half of a duel after leaving everything behind on Christmas Day on the ice in a loss of competition to Finland.
Whether Stutzle had anything in the tank dominated much of the discussion in the matchup. But the German to whom we should pay more attention when considering the exposure - at least when assessing the competitive aspect - was netminder Arno Tiefensee.
The 18-year-old Tiefensee, who was only the nation's starter because Germany's number 1 had COVID-19 under contract and was later declared not eligible to participate, was completely unprepared for the matchup among many German skaters and allowed three goals in the first five and four shot targets in the first period total.
It almost looked as if Tiefensee was closing his eyes and guessing the higher quality Canadian looks, but the worst moment came when he stepped out of the fold to play the puck of a German power game, poorly managed and barely moved Legs in his efforts to get back to the fold when Dawson Mercer rolled them around the back of the net.
When Germany saw that their netminder was working, they might send their fourth stringer, Jonas Gaehr, to finish the game after the first break, and the viewing experience quickly became uncomfortable. This is because Gaehr was far worse and he allowed seven goals in the second half before starting the third half in the first five attempts that were thrown against him. In total, Gaehr allowed 12 goals as the Canadians topped up their stats on the first night.
No charges against Germany
For the tournament and its organizers, this was a worse look than for the constantly improving German youth program. Not only were the Germans limited to 14 skaters, but also had three of their four or five best players due to COVID-19 issues, including top defender Moritz Seider, the sixth overall selection of the Detroit Red Wings in 2019, and striker Lukas Reichel who just finished 17th overall in the Chicago Blackhawks. This core group also includes Netminder Tobias Ancicka, who would have been a strong bet to prevent the target disaster on Saturday.
Fortunately, Germans don't have to worry about relegation this winter due to the circumstances, which means they will definitely have the opportunity to return in 2022 to demonstrate the strength of their program, although it will be without Stutzle and Seider.
Ace in the hole
It was a surprise to see Philip Tomasino scratch for Canada's first and only junior warm-up game in the world. Tomasino was one of the most dominant players in the Ontario Hockey League last season. He scored 100 points in 62 games and impressed many with the training camp and the preparation for the event. So if there's a silver lining to losing a potentially dominant force and losing the team's captain, Kirby Dach, in the only preliminary game, Tomasino will be unleashed and likely to play a major role.
The talent for goal that Tomasino possesses could be seen almost immediately, and in a rare moment when the game still seemed slightly interesting. After the Germans beat half of the first half 2-1, Tomasino responded with this nifty solo offensive and restored the lead of two goals that would quickly lead to a snowball.
With a roof in Chicago, Tomasino no longer has to worry about getting dressed. Although it's unlikely to have been an issue after his two-goal, three-point performance.
Levi doesn't break
As sweeping as the win was, the Canadians can count on the performance of Netminder Devon Levi.
The unannounced netminder, barely on Hockey Canada's radar in the initial preps for the tournament, was important early on and made a number of difficult rejections, including this brisk stop at Stutzle.
Levi has stopped 31 of his first 32 shots to maintain his claim to the No. 1 goalkeeping position, including losing to the Russians in the pre-tournament lone game. But the best sign for Levi could have been head coach Andre Tourigny made a decision with his maintenance in mind and brought him out for Dylan Garand to start the third period.
Garand made five saves with six shots.
Schneider should see suspension
There is always one.
The only disappointment for Canada in the devastating win was the five-minute major who was inflicted on defender Braden Schneider for a clear and dangerous headbutt against German Jan-Luca Schumacher, which will almost certainly result in a suspension.
It seems you can set your watch for something like this in the juniors of the world, especially at the start of the tournament when, after months and months of anticipation, the players are so desperate to make a difference.
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