Host nation and defending champions Canada take on Denmark in their opening group game of the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships on Boxing Day evening at the Rogers Arena.
These teams met in the World Championship U20 finals at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo almost exactly a year ago, with Team Canada running out comprehensive 8-0 winners.
Canada has won the IIHF World U20 Championship a record 17 times, including the 2017-18 tournament which was held in the USA and where they beat Sweden 3-1 in the final.
Head Coach Tim Hunter has two returnees from the team that won World Juniors gold last year; Maxime Comtois (Drummondville Voltigeurs) and Alex Formenton (London Knights), although Formenton is undergoing further testing to determine the extent of his right knee injury before his place on the roster is confirmed.
Michael DiPietro appears to be the early frontrunner in the race to be Canada’s starting goalie against the Danes on Boxing Day. DiPietro has strong numbers this season with a 12-7-1 record and .922 save percentage, but his main competition has been even better. Prince Albert’s Ian Scott leads the WHL with a 23-2-1 record and .943 save percentage. Whoever is selected is likely to have a quiet evening.
- Canada’s final preparations include games against Switzerland, Slovakia and Finland as part of their World Juniors pre-tournament schedule.
- Canada will go into this game as overwhelming bookies favourites and the vast majority of World Junior Ice Hockey betting predictions will be for a comprehensive win for the host nation. In reality, anything other than a rout of the Danes would be a big surprise.
- Last year Denmark lost all four of their group games with a goal difference of 2-26. Another winning margin close to double figures looks highly likely for the Canucks.
- The Money Line odds are going to be prohibitive though, so it’s probably going to make more sense to look at backing Canada on the ‘Puck Line’ odds in this game (although no Puck Line spread and odds are available at the time of writing).
Pick: Puck Line – Canada
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