The opening day of the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship sees a heavyweight clash between the two pre-tournament favourites for the title, with Canada meeting the USA at the Ostravar Arena in the Czech Republic.
This game on Boxing Day evening (local time) could well prove decisive as to who wins Group B and, at least in theory, who benefits from the draw thereafter in the tournament.
Canada Team News
The USA were runners-up to Finland in the IIHF World Junior Championship a year ago in Canada, but it is the Canadians who are the marginal bookies favourites coming into this year’s tournament and therefore the narrow favourites coming into this game.
Left wing Alexis Lafreniere, who is the projected No. 1 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, will be a key player for Canada. He should be fully fit, but he didn’t participate in any practices during the selection camp in Oakville, Ontario, as a result of an ankle injury.
Along with defensemen Ty Smith (New Jersey Devils) and Jared McIsaac (Detroit Red Wings), Lafreniere is one of three returning players for Canada from the 2019 WJC.
USA Team News
The USA has the edge in experience, with there being six returning players on their roster, in goalie Spencer Knight (Florida Panthers) of Boston College, Harvard University forward Jack Drury (Carolina Hurricanes), Bridgeport forward Oliver Wahlstrom (New York Islanders), Western Michigan University defenseman Mattias Samuelsson (Buffalo Sabres) and University of Wisconsin defenseman K’Andre Miller (New York Rangers).
Canada vs USA IIHF Betting Lines & Prediction
Looking for a IIHF 2020 predictions for this game, that extra experience makes the USA the tips as underdogs in the betting on the Money Line odds.
IIHF 2020 Prediction: Money Line – USA to Win @ +130 (2.30) with Betway