Bedard breaks Gretzky’s record as Canada crushes Austria at World Juniors

EDMONTON – Canada’s Connor Bedard on Tuesday became the youngest player to score four goals in a single world championship for juniors for men.

The 16-year-old from North Vancouver, BC, drove Canada to an 11-2 victory over Austria with his quadruple.

Mason McTavish scored twice and had an assist, and Cole Perfetti had a goal and two assists for the hosts (2-0). Kent Johnson, Lukas Cormier, Logan Stankoven and Mavrik Bourque also scored for the Canadians.

Eliot Desnoyers and Will Cuylle each assisted on three Bedard goals. Brett Brochu stopped 20 of 22 shots for victory in his first start of the tournament.

Lukas Necesany and Mathias Bohm scored for Austria (0-2) with the beleagured starter Leon Sommer making 53 saves in the loss.

Bedard joined Mario Lemieux (1983), Simon Gagne (1999), Brayden Schenn (2010), Taylor Raddysh (2016) and Maxime Comtois (2018) in the Canadian junior record books for men for most goals scored in a single match.

Bedard was the seventh 16-year-old to be named the national men’s junior team in its 45-year history, joining players like Wayne Gretzky and Sidney Crosby.

No other 16-year-old, however, produced four goals in a match. Gretzky scored a hat-trick in 1977 against Czechoslovakia.

“It’s definitely cool to hear your name and one of, if not the best, who’s ever played,” Bedard said. “It’s one game and I do not think I’ll get 2,800 points in the NHL. It’s cool to hear my name along with his. It’s good, but we have a long way to go in this tournament.”

Canada plays its second pool A match in as many days on Wednesday against Germany and ends the preliminary round of New Year’s Eve against the Finns.

That is, if the men’s U20 tournament is not further derailed by the COVID-19 virus. The match between Canada and Austria was the only match played on Tuesday.

Two American players who tested positive caused the United States to lose a pool B match to Switzerland with the entire team in mandatory quarantine.

The Swiss were awarded a 1-0 victory under the rules of the International Ice Hockey Federation. The IIHF has not yet decided whether the United States can play Wednesday’s pool B match against Sweden in the Red Deer.

The quarterfinals are Sunday followed by the semifinals on January 4 and the medal matches on January 5 in Edmonton.

“All the work done to get in here and complete this tournament under these trying conditions, you do not want to see any team lose a match the way the USA (did), so hopefully only a one-time match for them and the tournament continues, ”said Canadian head coach Dave Cameron.

“I think our team has been really diligent. We’re in a tight bubble. You cross your fingers and keep preaching the diligence part of it.”

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Alberta’s COVID-19 restrictions limit spectators in Edmonton and Red Deer to 50 percent capacity. Rogers Place was far from its half capacity of 9,320 on Tuesday with attendance at 3,862.

Players moving in and out of the lineup had Canada mixed lines Tuesday, with Bedard switching to a line with Cuylle and Desnoyers.

Canadian striker Justin Sourdif served a one-match quarantine for an illegal check to the head in Sunday’s tournament opener 6-3 victory over the Czech Republic.

Striker Xavier Bourgault also did not play after taking a header in Sunday’s third period.

“Crossing fingers that he can skate tomorrow,” Cameron said.

Stankoven from Kamloops Blazers and Soo Greyhounds defender Ryan O’Rourke pulled in to play their first games of the tournament.

Bedard’s fourth goal was a 2:34 tip-in of the third period. The Canadians scored six unanswered goals before Austria responded late in the second period.

Bedard scored back-to-back goals in 71 seconds late in the first to spot his team a 5-0 lead.

The Regina Pats striker then picked up the puck from an offensive zone and struck a wrist shot over Summer 6:13 in the second period to complete his hat-trick.

He got another turn on a pinballing puck to a power-play goal and completed a give-and-go with Cuylle from the intoxication in the first period.

A Brochu gaff party led to Austria’s first goal with 31 seconds left of the second period when the Canadian goalkeeper lost a foothold with Vinzenz Rohrer.

The Ottawa 67 had time to whip the puck across the ice to Necesany, who had a half-open net as a goal.

Austria won promotion to the World Junior Championships for men in 2021 by winning the 2020 Division 1 tournament. For the second year in a row and due to COVID cancellations of lower level tournaments, no team will be relegated from this tournament.

“Canada is not the easiest team to play against,” Rohrer said. “When we talk to the coaches in the locker room, we’re just saying we want to focus on our game and not how the relegation is and what team it is.

“We had really good parts of our game where we can really take something from that. In the second period, we went 1-1.”

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