Team Canada’s much anticipated 2021 World Junior Championship opener took place on Saturday afternoon. The team lined up against a depleted German squad and gave Oiler fans their first real look at their 2020 first-round pick. Dylan Holloway lined up as the team’s second line left-wing alongside, Avalanche prospect, Alex Newhook and, Buffalo first-rounder, Dylan Cozens. The trio is expected to be Team Canada’s primary shutdown line throughout the tournament.
It didn’t take long for things to get exciting. Holloway’s line got the start and within seconds they had a fantastic chance as Cozens hit the crossbar. Kaiden Guhle would make up for the missed opportunity a minute later as he walked in from the point and beat Arno Tiefensee to give Canada the first lead. Germany followed this up with a fabulous opportunity to tie things up as John Perterka fed Tim Stutzle on a 2-on-1 where Devon Levi just barely got his pad on the puck to keep Canada up.
Dawson Mercer would add insurance later on in the period after Tiefensee mishandles the puck behind the German net, giving Mercer an easy shorthanded marker. 2-0 halfway through the first. Soon after the goal, Canada would lose a player as Braden Schnieder was given five and a game for a headshot to German forward Jan-Luca Schumacher.
Germany would be able to cut into the lead on the five-minute power-play as Peterka was able to get some time and room in the slot to beat Levi over the glove with a wicked wrister. That would be a short-lived moment of joy for the Germans as Philip Tomasino would walk in and label a short-side shot passed Tiefensee to reinstate Canada’s two-goal cushion.
We then had a controversial moment in the dying seconds as Peyton Krebs seemingly scored as the buzzer rang. The play would go to review and TSN’s camera showed that time had definitely expired before the puck entered the net, seemingly negating it. However, the call on the ice would stand and Canada’s lead expanded to 4-1 heading into the second period.
Canada would continue their rout in the second period as Mercer got his second of the game after a quick snap-shot found its way into the net less than three minutes in. Yet another misplay by the German goaltender (this time Jonas Gahr) led to an easy goal for Canada, this time it was Ryan Suzuki putting it into the empty net. Newhook, Tomasino, Cozens and Krebs would add goals in the period to give Canada an 11-1 lead heading into the third.
I’ll save some time to describe the third period for you: Canada continued to absolutely rack up the goals in the final frame. Dylan Garand got the nod in net for the Canadians for the final 20 and Cozens, Pelletier, Harley and McMichael while Florian Elias got one late for the Germans. Final score reads 16-2 for Team Canada.
Final Thoughts on Holloway:
Despite the onslaught of goals put up by Canada, Holloway was limited to just one assist on the night. He picked that up on Dylan Cozen’s third goal of the night (Canada’s 13th) and was buzzing around the net for that line. I won’t sit here and say that it was a disappointing game for Holloway as it's hard to judge how good a player is in a game as lopsided as this. He wasn’t as noticeable as Oiler fans might’ve wanted but he did have a few good moments in the offensive zone.
Overall, just a fine game by Holloway. It would’ve been fun to see him pile up the points like his linemates did, but I don’t think we should read too much into a 16-2 win.