Connor Bedard had two goals and four assists as Canada pounded Austria 11-0 for the host country’s second straight blowout win at the world junior hockey championship Thursday in Halifax.
The 17-year-old phenom tied Jordan Eberle for the national record with his 14th career goal at the men’s under-20 event.
Logan Stankoven added a goal and three assists, while Nathan Gaucher and Adam Fantilli had a goal and two assists. Joshua Roy, with a goal and an assist, Dylan Guenther, Shane Wright, Zach Dean, Nolan Allan and Tyson Hinds also scored.
Benjamin Gaudreau made 12 saves for the shutout.
Benedikt Oschgan stopped 36 shots for the badly overmatched Austrians, who have been outscored 31-0 through their three games.
Canada was embarrassed 5-2 by the Czechs in Monday’s opener before rebounding with an emphatic 11-2 victory over Germany on Wednesday.
Sweden leads Group A with eight points, followed by Czechia’s seven and Canada’s six with one game to go for each team.
The Canadians meet the Swedes on New Year’s Eve, while Czechia — the country commonly known as the Czech Republic — will take on the Germans.
Bedard tied Canada’s single-game record with seven points against Germany, and entered Thursday tied with John Tavares, Eric Lindros and Jeff Carter with 12 combined goals in his world junior career — two back of Eberle’s national record.
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) December 30, 2022
Expected to go No. 1 at the 2023 NHL draft, Bedard scored four times against Austria in an 11-2 triumph at last year’s world juniors in Edmonton before the event was shelved until August because of COVID-19 outbreaks.
Coached by Nova Scotia native Kirk Furey, the overmatched Austrians lost 11-0 to Sweden in their opener before dropping a 9-0 decision Tuesday to Czechia, but were full marks for their start Thursday.
A roster stacked with nine first-round NHL draft picks, plus presumptive 2023 top-5 selections Bedard and Fantilli, Canada had a tentative opening against the European lightweights, registering a solitary shot over the game’s first 14 minutes.
Then, the Canadians went to their first power play and never looked back.
Guenther, who scored a hat trick against Germany — all off Bedard feeds — got things started off a slick no-look, between-the-legs pass from Brennan Othmann.
Dean, who was assessed a match penalty and game misconduct for an illegal check to the head in Canada’s curtain-raiser defeat, snapped his first before Wright scored his third of the tournament on another man advantage from a Bedard setup for a 3-0 lead through 20 minutes.
Roy scored his second after the restart off a nice pass from Brandt Clarke before Bedard, who had three goals against Germany and leads the tournament in scoring, went to work on another highlight-reel effort when he roofed a shot upstairs from a next-to-impossible angle that had to be confirmed by video review
Allan then made it 6-0 on a seeing-eye shot from the point and Stankoven added his second from in tight on another sequence that required video review.
Fantilli scored his first of the tournament on a power play early in the third to stretch Canada’s lead to 8-0.
Gaucher added his first before Bedard bagged his sixth, and 14th overall, on a play where Stankoven pushed the puck forward off an offensive zone faceoff to his diving linemate.
Hinds completed the rout with his first off a scramble.
The Glace Bay, N.S., product, who had a long career as a European-based pro before moving into coaching in Austria, spoke before the game about how he hoped his players would embrace their moment in the spotlight in his hockey-mad home province and country.
“For me personally, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Furey, whose team plays Germany on Friday to wrap up its preliminary round schedule. “But more importantly I’m really excited for the players. These kids don’t get this opportunity very often.
“It’s pretty special here in Halifax.”
Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press