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2024 wjc can usa dec 23

World Juniors Preview: Canada vs. United States

Saturday, December 23 | 12 p.m. ET | Kungsbacka, Sweden | Pre-Tournament

Nicholas Pescod
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December 23, 2023
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GAME NOTES: CANADA VS. UNITED STATES (DEC. 23)

Canada’s National Junior Team wraps up its pre-tournament schedule Saturday against the United States in the final tune-up ahead of the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship. 

Last Game
 

Canada is coming off a 6-3 pre-tournament win over Switzerland on Friday. Owen Beck scored twice, one of them shorthanded, Conor Geekie chipped in with a goal and a helper while Macklin Celebrini had two assists for the Canadians, who broke open a tie game with four unanswered goals in the second period before being ejected after he was given a 5-minute major and a game misconduct for boarding. 

The United States’ last game saw it score five in a row to down Sweden 5-3 in pre-tournament action Thursday. Jimmy Snuggerud, Will Smith and Cutter Gauthier had three points each in the victory, while Trey Augustine stopped 14 of the 16 shots he faced. 

Last Meeting 

The last time these two teams met, Canada booked its ticket to the gold medal game at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship, scoring six unanswered goals to down the United States 6-2. Joshua Roy had a two-goal night, Connor Bedard, Logan Stankoven, Adam Fantilli and Brandt Clarke each had a goal and an assist, and Thomas Milic put on a clinic in a 43-save effort. 


What to Watch
 

As the lone returnee from the team that won gold a year ago in the Maritimes, there are plenty of eyes on Owen Beck. But the Peterborough Petes sniper doesn’t appear to mind the attention; he was all over the ice against the Swiss, giving Canada the lead for good early in the second period before adding a highlight-reel shorthanded marker late in the middle frame. Beck has been terrific for the defending OHL champions, posting 16 goals and 30 points in 25 games.

The United States is a deep team and considered a perennial favourite for a few reasons. First, the U.S. has 10 first-round NHL draft picks, a list that includes the fourth overall pick in 2023 (Will Smith, San Jose) and fifth overall pick in 2022 (Cutter Gauthier, Philadelphia). Second, they’ve got Trey Augustine between the pipes. The 18-year-old Detroit Red Wings prospect is 11-3-2 with a .912 save percentage at Michigan State University this season. Third, the Americans are very familiar with each other — eight players are returnees from the team that won bronze in Halifax. 

A Look Back 

While Canada historically has had the upper hand against the United States, winning 34 of 49 meetings with three ties, things have been more even of late. The Canadians have split the last 10 meetings with the U.S. dating back to 2012.

Prior to the semifinal win last year, Canada’s previous victory over the Americans came in the 2020 World Juniors opener, when Alexis Lafrenière scored a late game-winner and added three assists in a 6-4 Boxing Day win

All-time record: Canada leads 34-12-3 (3-3 in OT/SO) 
Canada goals: 200 
United States goals: 136 

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

emadziya@hockeycanada.ca 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

ssharkey@hockeycanada.ca

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

jknight@hockeycanada.ca

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