The Edmonton Oilers only have two representatives at the 2022 World Junior Championships and both were in action on Sunday.
Let’s take a look at how they fared in their first games of the tournament...
The morning game featured 2021 Oilers third-round pick Luca Münzenberger suit up for Germany as they took on Finland in the opening game of this year’s tournament.
It’s a new-look German team that doesn’t have the dynamic duo of J.J. Peterka or Tim Stutzle to help their offence out. That didn’t stop them from giving the Finns all that they could handle. A hard-fought game that saw Finland take home a close 3-1 victory.
Münzenberger was a bright spot for Germany. He picked up the team’s only goal of the game on a very nice wrister from the slot and was fairly solid in his own end as well. He acted as the team’s PP quarterback and had a few good moments moving the puck in the offensive end.
It wasn’t all great for the blueliner, however. He took a penalty in the second when Finland had the 1-0 lead and was beaten by his man on the third Finnish goal.
All in all, he had a pretty good game all things considered. He is playing on a German team that is lacking the star-power of last year’s team and Finland is a perennial contender in this tournament.
Oilers fans shouldn’t complain about that outing from a recent third-rounder. He is back in action against Czechia tonight at 5pm.
The headliner for the Edmonton Oilers for this year’s tournament is Xavier Bourgault, who is playing on Team Canada’s top-line. He was in action against Czechia.
The game didn’t go quite as expected for the Canadians early on. The Czechs got out to a surprising 3-1 lead in the period, one of which was on a powerplay created by Bourgault taking a penalty. Not a great look for the Oilers prospect.
He would make up for it sooner rather than later, however. He was a key contributor in causing havoc in front of the Czech net that allowed Owen Power to score the first of his three goals in the game. He didn’t get on the scoresheet but he was doing the right things.
In the last 40 minutes, Bourgault was one of the more noticeable Canadian players. He showed off his tenacity on the puck and had a few good sequences where he was able to cause turnovers and keep the Canadian cycle intact.
He was also surprisingly effective in the defensive end as well, staying in each play and making it difficult for attacking Czech forwards.
Bourgault wouldn’t finish the game for Canada. He took a hard open-ice hit in the third that caused him to leave the game. Unfortunately, we don’t know the extent of the injury but the expectation is that he will miss some time.
It would’ve been nice to see Bourgault get on the scoresheet in some way, shape, or form, but this wasn’t an awful outing for the L’Islet native. Hopefully, he will be back on that top-line sooner rather than later.