Connor Bedard scores pair in hockey worlds debut to lead Canada past Great Britain

Connor Bedard scored twice in his men's hockey worlds debut to help Canada double up Great Britain 4-2 on Sunday in Prague, Czech Republic. Michael Bunting and Brandon Hagel also scored for Canada. Liam Kirk and Ben O’Connor replied for Great Britain.

Defending champions kick off tournament in Prague, Czech Republic, with 4-2 win

A male hockey player is seen shooting a puck past the opposition goaltender.
Canada's Connor Bedard is seen scoring one of his two goals in a 4-2 victory over Great Britain in a preliminary round match at the Ice Hockey World Championships in Prague, Czech Republic. (Petr David Josek/The Associated Press)

Connor Bedard scored twice in his world championship debut, and Canada overcame a surprise early deficit to open its title defence at the world hockey championship with a 4-2 win over newcomer Britain on Saturday.

The 18-year-old Bedard, coming off a great rookie NHL season with the Chicago Blackhawks, scored twice in a four-minute span of the second period to put the Group A game in Prague out of reach.

"It was a good first game, but we want to keep improving and be on a steady incline of progress throughout the tournament, and we are looking forward to continuing to play games here," Bedard said.

Canada had to rally from a goal down despite outshooting Britain 12-3 in the opening period and 34-15 overall.

"[Britain] was really committed and blocked a lot of shots," Canada head coach Andre Tourigny said. "They work really hard, and in this tournament it can be hard to generate offence. That is why any team can win games here. Tomorrow we need to continue to get better, because this tournament is all about which team can improve the most."

WATCH l Connor Bedard scored twice in much-anticipated World Championship debut: 

Connor Bedard leads Canada to victory in Prague

2 months ago
Duration 2:38
Connor Bedard scored twice as Canada defeated Great Britain 4-2 in the opening game of pool play at the 2024 Hockey World Championships in Prague.

Liam Kirk put Britain a 1-0 ahead on a power play eight minutes into the game, but the lead lasted just 30 seconds as Michael Bunting found the back of the net from the point to tie it 1-1.

"I had some time and space, and I knew I could get a good shot off," Bunting said. "I saw (Nick) Paul standing in front of the net, and he is a big guy, but it kind of went right by him and I was happy to see it go in."

Bedard's turn 

Brandon Hagel put the defending champions ahead 5:45 into the second period with a shot high into the roof of the net.

Then it was Bedard's turn.

The teenager beat goaltender Jackson Whistle (30 saves) midway through the frame for his first goal at the senior worlds, scooping up a rebound to reward Canada for sustained pressure in Britain's end.

He made it 4-1 minutes later after Nick Paul fed him with a perfect pass.

Ben O'Connor scored in the third period for Britain when he beat Canada goaltender Joel Hofer, who made 13 saves.

Bedard is a finalist for this year's Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year after putting up a team- and rookie-leading 61 points (22 goals, 39 assists) with Chicago despite missing 14 games with a broken jaw.

Canada next plays Denmark on Sunday. Denmark opened with a 5-1 win over Austria behind two goals and an assist from forward Joachim Blichfeld.

"We know Denmark is a good team and they are going to play hard tomorrow, so we need to be ready for that," Bedard said.

In Group A's other game, Roman Cervenka scored twice as host Czechia came back from 3-1 down to overcome Norway 6-3 for its second straight win.

In Group B in the city of Ostrava, the United States rebounded from a 5-2 loss to Sweden by routing last year's runner-up Germany 6-1 at the ice hockey world championship on Saturday.

Johnny Gaudreau and Michael Kesselring each had a goal and an assist, and captain Brady Tkatchuk, Luke Hughes, Trevor Zegras and Michael Eyssimont added goals in a Group B game in Ostrava.

Goaltender Alex Lyon stopped all 14 German shots he faced before he was substituted for Trey Augustine 3:27 into the middle period due to an injury. Augustine made 11 saves.

In other action, the U.S. beat German 6-1, while Kazakhstan defeated France 3-1.

Another newcomer in the top division, Poland, took last year's bronze medallist Latvia to overtime before falling 5-4. Latvia captain and former Ottawa Senator Kaspars Daugavins had two goals, including the winner, and an assist.

Canada's roster:

  • Michael Bunting (Scarborough, Ont.), Forward
  • Brandon Tanev (Toronto), Forward
  • Dylan Guenther (Edmonton), Forward
  • Jack McBain (Toronto), Forward
  • Dawson Mercer (Bay Roberts, N.L.), Forward
  • Jared McCann (London, Ont.), Forward
  • Nick Paul (Mississauga, Ont.), Forward
  • Dylan Cozens (Whitehorse, Yukon), Forward
  • Brandon Hagel (Morinville, Alta.), Forward
  • Ridly Greig (Lethbridge, Alta.), Forward
  • Pierre-Luc Dubois (Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Que.), Forward
  • Andrew Mangiapane (Bolton, Ont,), Forward
  • John Tavares (Oakville, Ont.), Forward
  • Connor Bedard (North Vancouver, B.C.), Forward
  • Olen Zellweger (Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.), Defenceman
  • Bowen Byram (Cranbrook, B.C.), Defenceman
  • Kaiden Guhle (Sherwood Park, Alta.), Defenceman
  • Jamie Oleksiak (Toronto), Defenceman
  • Owen Power (Mississauga, Ont.), Defenceman
  • Colton Parayko (St. Albert, Alta.), Defenceman
  • Damon Severson  (Melville, Sask.), Defenceman
  • Joel Hofer (Winnipeg), Goaltender
  • Nico Daws (Burlington, Ont.), Goaltender
  • Jordan Binnington (Richmond Hill, Ont.), Goaltender

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