Connor Bedard’s four goals propelled Canada to an 11-2 win over Austria at the world junior men’s hockey championship on Tuesday in Edmonton.
Mason McTavish scored twice and Cole Perfetti had a goal and two assists for the host country (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 the win in his first start of the tournament.
Lukas Necesany and Mathias Bohm scored for Austria (0-2) with beleaguered 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 men’s record books for the most goals scored in a single game.
🧢 are flying for Connor Bedard! 👏#WorldJuniors | #OurGameIsBackpic.twitter.com/a5AiaHdRBh
— Hockey Canada (@HockeyCanada) December 29, 2021
Bedard was the seventh 16-year-old named to the national men’s junior team in its 45-year history, joining players such as Wayne Gretzky and Sidney Crosby.
No other 16-year-old produced four goals in a game, however. Gretzky scored a hat trick in 1977 against Czechoslovakia.
Canada plays its second Pool A game in as many days Wednesday against Germany and concludes the preliminary round New Year’s Eve against the Finns.
That’s if the men’s under-20 tournament isn’t further derailed by the COVID-19 virus. Canada versus Austria was the only game played Tuesday.
Two American players testing positive had the U.S. forfeiting a Pool B game to Switzerland with the entire team in mandatory quarantine.
The Swiss were awarded a 1-0 win under International Ice Hockey Federation rules. The IIHF has yet to determine if the U.S. can play Wednesday’s Pool B game against Sweden in Red Deer.
The quarterfinals are Sunday followed by the Jan. 4 semifinals and Jan. 5 medal games in Edmonton.
Players moving out and into the lineup had Canada shuffling lines Tuesday, with Bedard shifted onto a line with Cuylle and Desnoyers.
Canadian forward Justin Sourdif served a one-game suspension Tuesday for an illegal check to the head in Sunday’s tournament-opening 6-3 win over Czechia.
Forward Xavier Bourgault also didn’t play after taking a hit to the head in Sunday’s third period.
Stankoven of the Kamloops Blazers and Soo Greyhounds defenceman Ryan O’Rourke drew in to play their first games of the tournament.
Bedard’s fourth goal was a tip-in at 2:34 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 a 71-second span late in the first period to spot his team a 5-0 lead.
The Regina Pats forward then collected the puck off an offensive-zone draw and whipped a wrist shot over Sommer at 6:13 of the second period to complete his hat trick.
He got a second swing at a pinballing puck for a power-play goal and finished a give-and-go with Cuylle off the rush in the first period.
Alberta’s COVID-19 restrictions limits spectators in Edmonton and Red Deer to 50 per cent capacity. Rogers Place wasn’t close to its half-capacity of 9,320 for Tuesday’s game.
THE CANADIAN PRESS
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