There was only one Colorado Avalanche prospect in action in Game 5 of the 2020 World Juniors, as Bowen Byram and Canada rebounded from a crushing defeat over the weekend with a resounding victory over Germany yesterday.
The round robin wraps with four games today (see the schedule at the end of the post), and the quarter-finals begin on January 2nd.
LD — Canada
When the lines came out early yesterday morning, there was one big change on the blueline from practice:
Byram on his new partner (pregame):— World Juniors Lauren (@laurkelly24) December 30, 2019
“I think he’s good on both sides of the puck just like I aspire to be, so, should be really fun playing with him, we’ll see how it goes.”#GoAvsGo
Byram hit the ice against Germany and made an impact almost immediately in his new role:
Holy hands from Byram. He walks in, toe drag, and rings the puck off the bar. #GoAvsGo— World Juniors Lauren (@laurkelly24) December 30, 2019
This was hands-down Byram’s best game of the tournament. He was excellent at even-strength, on the power play (he plays on the second unit), and on the penalty kill:
The pair has looked really good in the first period, particularly Byram. He’s displayed the jump and offensive creativity that we haven’t really seen from him yet in the tournament. #GoAvsGo— World Juniors Lauren (@laurkelly24) December 30, 2019
That was an incredible shift by Bowen Byram defending in front of the net PK.— Joel Henderson (@dathockeydoe) December 30, 2019
Seems like he’s woken up a little bit today. #WJC2020
Byram walks in from the blueline and tries to send the puck across the crease, but it doesn’t make it through— World Juniors Lauren (@laurkelly24) December 30, 2019
And he was deployed like a top-pairing defenseman, too:
Barrett Hayton (ARZ) led all Canadians in ice time with 21:48. Bowen Byram (COL) was 2nd with 20:54. #WorldJuniors— Jokke Nevalainen (@JokkeNevalainen) December 30, 2019
After being stapled to the third pair and looking fairly mediocre and unnoticeable, Byram took his play to another level yesterday when he was promoted to the top pair. He and Bernard-Docker (OTT) looked very comfortable together and Byram was definitely Canada’s best defenseman in the game.
Canada will close out their round robin against the Czech Republic today, with a chance to capture first place in Group B. Byram didn’t do anything to get himself taken off of the first pair or have his minutes cut, so expect him to play a similar role for Canada today (and hopefully for the rest of the tournament.
Sampo Ranta — DAY OFF
LW — Finland
Justus Annunen — DAY OFF
G — Finland
Danila Zhuravlyov — DAY OFF
LD — Russia
Round Robin Schedule
(All times MT, teams with Avalanche prospects are bolded)
7:00am — Sweden vs. Slovakia
7:00am — Russia vs. Germany
11:00am — Finland vs. Switzerland
11:00am — Canada vs. Czech Republic