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As McTavish and Bedard glow, Dave Cameron experiments with Canada’s high line

EDMONTON — Via 5 video games on the 2022 World Junior Championship, Canada’s most harmful offensive weapons have separated themselves removed from the pack.

The starring duo of Mason McTavish and Connor Bedard have already amassed a mixed 21 factors throughout that stretch of video games, establishing themselves as arguably essentially the most dynamic pair within the match, and leaving followers within the Rogers Place stands dreaming of gold.

However because the group heads right into a semifinal matchup Friday in opposition to a tricky Czechia group that simply upset the People — who had been the one different undefeated group remaining within the match — head coach Dave Cameron continues to be experimenting with discovering the perfect formation for his top-line group.

We’ve seen a variety of completely different iterations of the trio by means of the group’s slate of video games to this point, with the Bedard-McTavish duo hopping over the boards with three completely different wingers over that span. 

Towards Latvia and Slovakia it was Montreal Canadiens prospect Joshua Roy. The subsequent two video games, in opposition to Czechia and Finland, New York Rangers prospect Brennan Othmann bought a pair spins in that high spot. On Wednesday, for Canada’s quarterfinal win over Switzerland, Cameron switched issues up once more, throwing Rangers prospect Will Cuylle up with the main duo.

Of all three, it’s Othmann who’s appeared to have essentially the most success on that high line. Whereas Bedard and McTavish each racked up loads of even-strength factors of their very own doing, Othmann’s fingerprints have been throughout a variety of the pair’s highlight-reel tallies over the course of the match.

In Canada’s second recreation, as McTavish went off for 4 targets in opposition to Slovakia, Othmann was there with a pair slick passes to arrange two of the captain’s targets. A recreation later, in opposition to Czechia, he was making his presence identified once more, setting in movement one of many high line’s greatest performs of the match, firing an exquisite stretch move as much as Bedard, who discovered McTavish with area in alone on the netminder.

A pair nights later, in opposition to Finland, Othmann showcased the sandpaper mentality that defines his offensive recreation, battling alongside the wall deep within the opposing zone, successful the puck to Bedard who cycled it up excessive, after which deflecting dwelling an eventual level shot from Olen Zellweger.

Nonetheless, because the Canadians headed into their first elimination recreation of the match on Wednesday, Cameron opted to maneuver Othmann all the way down to play with Zack Ostapchuk and Eliot Desnoyers, shifting Cuylle up. Although the highest line may’ve misplaced a touch of its offensive magic with the change, within the coach’s eyes, there have been different elements of the trio’s recreation in want of shoring up.

“The large factor is that I needed a wall presence within the D-zone,” Cameron stated of the top-line change after Wednesday’s over Switzerland. “I needed any person that may be massive and powerful on the wall, that will allow that line to play D-zone a bit of bit quicker and get out. I assumed he did effectively.”

McTavish agreed.

“He’s an enormous man, will get in on the forecheck, creates a number of area for us. And he can rating, too,” the captain stated of his new linemate Wednesday. “I performed in opposition to him within the OHL, within the finals there, and he’s not enjoyable to play in opposition to.”

Thus far by means of Canada’s five-game schedule, Cameron’s had the luxurious of Bedard and McTavish seemingly thriving no matter who’s on their line, each capable of create offence for themselves or work with one another to maintain opposing defenders spinning. We’ve seen it time and time once more over the course of this match — most just lately two video games in the past, when Bedard took a move from McTavish on the finish of a tricky D-zone shift, carried the puck up himself and sniped an exquisite objective as the remainder of his line headed to the bench for a change.

After which there was the play in opposition to Slovakia, maybe the objective of the match for the Canadians, which noticed Bedard and McTavish dance across the opposition and play off one another to arrange a stunner, the remainder of their group merely watching them do their factor.

Towards Czechia within the semifinals, it appears the top coach may take that reliance on his high skills to deal with their very own enterprise one step additional. Throughout the group’s skate on Thursday, Cameron had McTavish reunite with Roy, with Will Dufour on the pair’s wing, whereas Bedard and Cuylle stayed collectively on a separate line, centred by Nathan Gaucher.

“I believe it’ll be nice,” McTavish stated of doubtless lining up with Roy and Dufour on Friday. “I believe there’s so many nice gamers in our lineup, and it’s fairly simple to play with each man right here. They’re all nice guys, and clearly they’re all right here for a motive.”

No matter how Cameron decides to rearrange his offence come Friday, the coach is specializing in the larger image, on shifting the items round to make sure the lineup as a complete performs the best way it must within the moments that may matter most.

“Very hardly ever are you going to undergo a match the place you’ve a powerhouse and all the things simply goes the best way you need, however you by no means understand how you’re going to take care of adversity till you get it,” Cameron stated Wednesday. “However we’re assured on this group. This group’s a peaceful group. This group’s a dedicated group — I imply, you simply bought to have a look at the shot-blocking in opposition to the Finnish group. They’re dedicated. 

“However it’s a problem now, because the competitors will get higher. When it will get higher, you’ll be able to nonetheless play an actual good recreation and lose. So, we’re not anxious about successful and shedding, we’re simply anxious about how we’re going to play.”

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