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EDMONTON – A wider Canadian audience is finally learning why Owen Power stands out among his hockey peers.

The 19-year-old defender from Mississauga, Ontario played his junior ice hockey in the United States before moving to the University of Michigan.

Power was invited to play for the Canadian junior hockey team last year.

The Wolverines did not release him to the selection camp, thereby robbing Canadian fans the chance to see a critically acclaimed NHL prospectus play at the 2021 World Junior Championship in Edmonton.

Canadians caught a glimpse of an 18-year-old power at the Men’s World Cup in June when Canada won gold in Latvia.

The Buffalo Sabers, who made him the first overall pick in the NHL draft in July, confirmed just how much pro teams coveted his talents.

A hat trick in his first game of the 2022 Men’s Under-20 World Cup – he became the first Canadian defender to score three goals in a single game – caught the attention of his country’s hockey fans.

After a game, Power only needs two more goals for the most goals by a Canadian defender in the tournament.

That would beat current Ottawa Senator Blueliner Thomas Chabot, who scored four goals in Montreal in 2017.

That is doable given the power play minutes Power will get in Edmonton. Two of his three goals in Canada’s 6-3 win over the Czechs at the start of the tournament were linked to a man advantage.

Alex Pietrangelo (2010) and Bryan McCabe (1995) jointly hold the record for the most tournament points for a Canadian defender at 12 each.

Power, six feet tall and weighing 214 pounds, brings the tranquility of Canada’s backcountry a team of teenagers needs to win gold on January 5th.

“His demeanor under pressure, his ability to make good decisions when his time and space are limited,” said Canadian head coach Dave Cameron.

Growing up, he played power boxing lacrosse, which Cameron believes contributed to the defender’s hockey skills and ability to maneuver his large body out of tight spaces with the puck on his stick.

“I totally agree,” said Power. “The most obvious thing is your hand-eye coordination when you catch and play.

“When you look at the way the game is played, you learn how to use your body, your posture and the space on the court.

“It really means hockey for the same stuff, protecting the puck, using the body, and finding open ice to get yourself to good places to get pucks.”

Power won three national lacrosse championships at the peewee and bantam level with Ontario. He admits that as a teenager he liked lacrosse better than hockey.

“I think it was just because I was better at lacrosse, but as I got older I fell in love with hockey more than lacrosse,” said Power.

Powers older sister Emily plays lacrosse for the University of Guelph, and younger brother Adam also plays the sport.

Power contributed three assists and was plus one in 10 games at the Men’s World Cup in Latvia.

He was named Canada’s Player of the Game in a quarter-final win over Russia in extra time.

“Playing in the World Cup definitely helped me feel a lot more comfortable on this ice,” said Power. “I think I was definitely more comfortable here than when I played there, but I also think I knew my role a little better.

“That made it a lot easier I think. It’s pretty similar to the role I play in Michigan. “

A power before the game is unwavering, said Canadian striker Cole Perfetti, who was also Power’s team-mate in Latvia.

“Sometimes it’s hard to believe him before a game. It is just like it would be on a day off. It’s kind of weird, but it works for him. He obviously figured it out, ”said Perfetti.

“It’s hard to get. People can get nervous very easily, especially in sports and hockey. Nothing really worries him. “

London Knights goalkeeper Brett Brochu will face the Austrians on Tuesday after Dylan Garand made 14 saves against the Czechs.

“We’re happy after the first game, but we have some players with depth. We’re going to put them in and use them and then move on, ”said Cameron.

Striker Xavier Bourgault didn’t run on Monday after taking a head hit in the third period on Sunday. Cameron was not committed to Bourgault’s status for Tuesday’s game.

The host country meets Germany on Wednesday and ends the preliminary round on New Year’s Eve against Finland, which beat Austria 7-1 on Monday for the second time in a row.

Russia doubled Switzerland 4-2 in a game by Pool B at Red Deer.

The quarter-finals are scheduled for January 2nd and the semi-finals on January 4th.

Following Canada’s opening day victory, which saw only 4,526 people coming to Rogers Place, single tickets went on sale on Monday.

The provincial government limited attendance at major sporting events to 50 percent just days before the tournament started due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19.

Sunday’s turnout for Canada stayed well below the 9,320 Rogers allowed.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on December 27, 2021.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press


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