After coming off a tough defeat to Finland last night, Latvia’s schedule does not get much easier. Today’s matchup includes Latvia going up against the powerhouse that is Canada. After being postponed from December to August, this is Canada’s first tournament game at the 2022 World Junior Championship since. While it certainly seems like a battle Canada should cleanly win, there is always that small chance of David beating Goliath that is the reason we tune into the world juniors.
2022 World Junior Predictions
Canada vs. Latvia
The second game on today’s schedule includes a perennial contender for gold and a team that wasn’t initially in the tournament in December. It’s about as lopsided on paper as a game could get. Team Canada is chalked full of talent and it’s going to be an uphill battle for Latvia for all 60 minutes of the game.
Canada was able to win 4-3 against another perennial contender for gold in their pre-tournament game against Sweden. It seems that moving the tournament from December to August hasn’t phased the Canadian players much. There are very few holes in Canada’s roster. They have the depth at forward, defence, and even a good rotation of goaltenders. It will give them a chance against any team in this tournament.
Players to Watch
There are quite a few players to watch for Canada in this game and this tournament. The biggest name is perhaps Connor Bedard. Bedard is the projected first overall pick in 2023 for many. His talent was apparent in the few games played in December, scoring four goals against Austria as one of the best single performances in recent World Junior history.
Another player to watch includes Anaheim Ducks top prospect Mason McTavish. He is coming off a deep run with the Hamilton Bulldogs, where they made it all the way to the final game before falling to the Saint Johns Sea Dogs. He is an incredible offensive talent that will be a treat to watch this tournament.
One final player to watch will be goalie Sebastian Cossa, as he is getting the start and will likely battle it out with Dylan Garand to see who will start for the medal games.
Red Wings prospect Sebastian Cossa will get the start for Team Canada in its first game of the #WorldJuniors against Latvia. Head coach Dave Cameron discussed what Cossa brings to the team and revealed that Dylan Garand will ‘probably’ start on Thursday: https://t.co/0OiWds7cDQ pic.twitter.com/mwX15m4ACD
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) August 10, 2022
Latvia struggled against Finland in their first game of the tournament, losing 6-1. As one can assume, Latvia is expected to struggle against Canada. They don’t have the same top-end talent at all positions like Canada does. To win, a lot of things have to go right for Latvia and a lot of things have to go wrong for Canada. While hockey can be a random sport at times, and there have been incredible upsets in the history of the sport, it seems unlikely.
Players to Watch
If Latvia is going to have a shot at this, they’re going to need an unbelievable night from their goalie. Bruno Bruveris allowed six against Finland, but we’ve seen goalies get hot at the perfect time before. Another player of note is Dans Locmelis, a fourth-round pick in the 2022 NHL draft by the Boston Bruins. He is one of the three NHL-affiliated prospects on this Latvia team. Finally, there is the lone goal scorer against Finland and one of the other NHL-affiliated prospects, Klavs Veinbergs. Latvia wasn’t able to get much going against Finland, but he was a lone bright spot against the tough Finnish team. He may need to help out yet again if Latvia has a shot against Canada.
While it would be incredible to see an upset of this magnitude, there is no reasonable prediction that doesn’t have Canada winning. While the aforementioned players could make it more competitive than most expect it to be, it will be an incredibly tough battle for Latvia. It should be a landslide for this game in the 2022 World Junior Championship.
Prediction: Canada Wins 8-1