Canada Celebrini's New Year's Eve with win
by Andrew Podnieks|31 DEC 2023
photo: © International Ice Hockey Federation / Matt Zambonin
Jordan Dumais broke a 3-3 tie with a power-play goal midway through the third period to send Canada on to a 6-3 win over Germany in the final game of the preliminary round. The win means Canada finishes second while Germany drops out of the playoffs to fifth and will play Norway in a one-game relegation game on 4 January.

But it was Canada's fifth goal that was the talk of the streets after. Macklin Celebrini chased down a long pass and beat goalie Matthias Bittner to the puck in the facoff circle, then fired a quick shot into the empty net from a near-impossible angle for the left-hand shot. It was his second goal of the night, and he drew the penalty with another great play that led to Dumais' goal. Wow.

"We showed some resilience tonight," said Canadian forward Brayden Yager. "We had a tough time scoring a little bit of the game but just stuck with it, shooting pucks, and we knew when one went it in they'd keep coming. In the second we had a couple of bad bounces, open nets, but in the end I thought we played pretty well."

At the start of the game, there were four possible outcomes for the Germans. Lose in regulation and miss the playoffs; win in regulation and finish second, ahead of Canada; win in overtime/shootout and finish third, ahead of Finland; lose in overtime/shootout and finish fourth, knocking Latvia down to the relegation game.

"We believed in our group, that's for sure," said Julian Lutz, who had a goal and an assist for the Germans. "We wanted to play as simple as possible, get every puck over their line and be patient. We did a great job. I mean, how many minutes of the game did we play tied with Canada? We're disappointed we couldn't get a tie, but I'm really proud of our group."

Canada, meanwhile, now takes on Czechia in the quarter-finals on Tuesday afternoon. "I've seen a few highlights of their games," Yager noted. "It's definitely not a team we're going to take lightly. Any team can win any game. From now on, it's win or die, so we'll be ready."


This was Germany’s 200th game at the World Juniors. Of that number 29 have been against Canada and they have but one win to show, a 7-6 home-ice shootout on January 2, 1981, at the Eissporthalle in Kaufbeuren, Germany.

The game couldn’t have started more dramatically, for all the wrong reasons. Just eleven seconds into the game, Canadian forward Conor Geekie was assessed a major and game misconduct for a hit to the head.

Although the Canadian penalty killers did a good job, they weren’t perfect, and Germany opened the scoring at 2:57 when Lutz snapped a shot to the far side past the blocker of Mathis Rousseau, who was making his fourth consecutive start in goal for Canada.

Three and a half minutes later, Canada got on the board when Celebrini got his third of the tournament, coming through the middle and beating Matthias Bittner cleanly with a wicked shot.

In a battle of number 24’s, Germany keep the game 1-1 thanks to some great goaltending by their 24, Roman Kechter. Bittner was drawn well out of his net and Canada’s 24, Denton Mateychuk, had a gaping set of strings, but Kechter slid across and blocked a sure goal.
Canada then took its first lead on a power play at 14:37 when Nate Danielson made a spectacular no-look pass to Yager, and this time there was no missing the open cage.

Although Canada had the overwhelming majority of the puck time in the second, they misfired time and again and lacked synchronicity around the German goal. Meanwhile, the Germans got an early power play and converted, tying the game, 2-2, at 1:49 when Kechter ripped a shot over the glove of Rousseau. Not a big goalie, the common element on both German goals was a man stationed in front of Rousseau to "take away his eyes," as Yager described.

No sooner had the third period started than Canada showed some creatvity and were rewarded off the rush. Carson Rehkopf came down the left side and outwaited everyone before tossing a pass to the slot where Owen Beck snapped it into the open goal for a 3-2 lead.

But a double minor to Dumais spoiled the celebrations and Julius Sumpf tied the score again at 7:32 with the extra man. Yep, there was a skater directly in front of Rousseau on the shot.

Celebrini, Canada's 17-year-old and the best player on the ice, then went coast to coast to draw a penalty, and Canada re-took the lead exaclty one minute after Sumpf's score. That same Dumais was in the right spot to control a rebound and snap a shot into the back side for a 4-3 Canada lead.

Easton Cowan added an empty netter to close out the scoring.
Canada vs Germany - 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship