Team Canada's 2024 World Junior team has just wrapped up their pre-tournament schedule, finishing with a solid 2-0-1 record, with two Toronto Maple Leafs prospects making a positive impact with the team.
In these tune-up games, both Toronto Maple Leafs prospects who made Team Canada, Easton Cowan and Fraser Minten, played very well for their home country.
Canada defeated a U-25 from Denmark 8-0, beat Switzerland 6-3, and fell 6-5 in overtime to rivals and tournament favourites USA in a thrilling game.
With that being said, let's take a look into how Cowan, Minten, and Canada as a whole played in these 3 games.
Toronto Maple Leafs Prospects Impress In WJC Pre-Tournament
Game 1: 8-0 Win vs Denmark U-25
While this game unfortunately was not televised, an 8-0 victory is always a good thing against any team.
Both Cowan and Minten found the back of the net, with Minten scoring 2 goals and adding an assist for a 3-point performance.
Game 2: 6-3 Win vs Switzlerand
Team Canada took their second exhibition game by a score of 6-3, however this game was far from perfect.
Canada was sloppy at times in their defensive zone, and goaltender Mathis Rousseau was far from perfect, though he did make some great saves.
On the flip side, both Cowan and Minten looked fantastic, including Minten adding another goal. Both players were used heavily in this game (and all 3 games for that matter), earning power play time and minutes in the top-6 forward group.
Game 3: 6-5 OT Loss to USA
In their final pre-tournament game, the Canadians came up just short, falling 6-5 in overtime to the odds-on favourite in this year's tournament, Team USA. Despite trailing 4-2 and 5-3 in the game, Team Canada rallied in the 3rd period to tie the game with their relentless forecheck and an abundance of offensive zone time before unfortunately losing in the extra frame.
Both Cowan and Minten again performed very well, with Minten developing some serious chemistry with fellow Canadian forward Jordan Dumais, especially on the power play. In terms of Cowan's play, he may have been one of Canada's best players in the entire game.
Easton Cowan's relentless pressure on the puck and hard forecheck made a nightmare scenario for the Americans in the third period, who had a tough time even getting the puck out of their own zone. Even with only 1 goal in the 3 games, Cowan's play certainly impressed many.
In short, it was a fairly strong showing from Team Canada and the Leafs propsects in these 3 games. A 2-0-1 record is not bad by any means, and they showed they had a real chance of defeating Team USA, who by far has the best team on paper in this year's tournament.
Both Cowan and Minten will look to keep up their strong play when the real tourament starts on December 26th when Canada plays Team Finland.