For the first time since the inception of the World Juniors, Canada will be without a medal when hosting the tournament after a heart-breaking 2-1 overtime loss to Finland in the quarterfinals. Overshadowed by the dramatic finish in Vancouver, Nick Suzuki had a solid tournament for the Canadians.
The Montreal Canadiens prospect made numerous outstanding passes, often threading cross-ice passes through traffic to teammates in prime scoring condition. Running the only effective Canadian powerplay unit, Suzuki had 3 assists while playing primarily on the right wing of Canada’s second line.
His cross-ice pass to Morgan Frost (PHL) on the power-play during Canada’s preliminary round game against the Czech is representative of his outstanding vision, passing, and hockey IQ. Suzuki is number 17 in the video below.
One thing that was noticeable when watching the games was that Suzuki was almost always in the right position. He rarely takes penalties, having been named the OHL’s most sportsmanlike player of the year for two consecutive seasons. However, Suzuki wasn’t as fast as some of his teammates and the difference in speed was especially pronounced when backchecking or going after loose pucks.
“In the O-zone [Suzuki’s] always in the right spot. When you have the puck he’s always diving into holes and getting in good spots to get the puck back. He’s so good with the puck and he’s such a smart player you kind of just try to create picks and let him do his thing and get to the net as much as possible. And then in the D zone it seems like he’s always on the right side of his guy.”Teammate Jaret Anderson-Dolan (LAK)
Ultimately, however, this tournament will always be remembered in Canada by defining events in the quarterfinal game against Finland – DiPietro’s heroic effort in net, a crazy bounce off the back of the neck for Finland’s game-tying goal, a penalty shot miss in overtime for captain Maxime Comtois (ANA), and Noah Dobson’s (NYI) stick shattering right before blasting the puck into an open net in overtime.
In the quarterfinals, Suzuki was moved to a new line with Frost and Barrett Hayton (ARZ). He was on the ice for both the Canadian and Finnish goals during regulation time and finished with 2 shots in 18:01 of ice time.