WJC Canada Postgame: Barzal Shines in Canada’s Opener

Updated: December 26, 2016 at 8:56 pm by Jess Pincente

In their first game of the tournament, Canada took on Russia in an energetic and high scoring round-robin rematch of the 2015 gold medal game.  

Canada played a solid game, as Tyson Jost, Matt Barzal and Dylan Strome put on a show through 3 periods.  The team seemed to be working well together, and their play saw a noticeable improvement as the game progressed.  


Carter Hart got the start in goal for Canada against the Russians, as he battled it out against one of the tournament’s best returning goaltenders in Ilya Samsonov.  

Tyson Jost scored a very pretty goal early in the first period, netting Canada’s first goal of the tournament and putting the Canadians ahead 1-0 early on.

Montreal prospect Mikhail Sergachev scored Russia’s first goal of the game at 9:47, tying the game for Russia midway through the first.  His celebration was, um… questionable? 

Canada dominated in the shot column through the first period, outshooting the Russians 12-5 after 20 minutes of play.  

Canada looked sloppy at times in the second, but eventually took the lead off of a Dylan Strome power play goal after some nifty passing between Matt Barzal and Thomas Chabot.   

A solid fourth line shift for Canada and some great pressure by Nicolas Roy eventually led to Canada’s third goal of the game, with the single assist going to Julien Gauthier.

Despite Canada’s somewhat inconsistent play through the second, they left the period with a 3-1 lead over the Russians.  Barzal was easily Canada’s best player in the second, generating an insane amount of offense for Canada on both the power play and at even strength.  

The Russian counter attack was prevalent in the third, as they kept the lead down to 2 through most of the period.  Special teams played a crucial role in the third as well, with 3/4 goals coming on the man advantage.  Goal scorers in the third included Strome and Barzal, both with PPGs for Canada, and Kaprizov and Rykov for Russia.   

The final score was 5-3 Canada.  Canada prevailed in the shot column as well, outshooting the Russians 37-17 through 3 periods of play in their opening game of the 2017 World Junior Hockey Championship. Canada’s power play was dominant in this game as well, as the Canadians went 3/6 on the man advantage.  

Also, by the end of the game, this tweet had become a very real truth for those who tuned in.  


The Maple Warrior was easily Matt Barzal, who had a fantastic showing in the second and third periods.  Barzal tallied a goal and two assists for Canada, and showed off his exceptional puck skills and elite offensive sense.  Barzal was also nominated as Canada’s Player of the Game.  

An honourable mention goes to Dylan Strome, who had two power play goals in Canada’s first goal of the tournament.    


Canada takes on Slovakia tomorrow night at the same time (8:00 EST), as Slovakia plays in their first game of the tournament.  Canada should hope for a fairly easy win tomorrow, as Slovakia has not beaten Canada once in the history of the World Juniors.