Edmonton Oilers Ryan Nugent-Hopkins shines in First World Junior Championship Game -NHL Update
Being named as captain of the Canadian Nation Team to perform in the 2013 World Junior Championship, Edmonton Oilers’ Ryan Nugent-Hopkins knew that he had an intimidating task ahead of him.
The first matchup of the series between Canada and Germany came and went and one person that rose to the occasion was none other than the top pick of the 2011 National Hockey League (NHL) Entry Draft, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
With a goal and four assists to kick off the series at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship at Ufa Arena in Russia, Nugent-Hopkins performance was through the roof and more than what anyone could have expected from the youngster.
"We knew all three of those players are at an NHL level when it comes to their ability and mindset," Canada coach, Steve Spott, told TSN. "It's one of those things you hope it works out because Mark is playing out of his natural position [on the wing]. Ultimately I thought all three guys would be on the same page mentally because they're all so smart. Mark has adjusted well to the wing. Hopefully they can keep that going."
Winning 9-3 against Germany, the Canadian National Team blasted through the occasion on Wednesday and really raised their prospects of taking over the series easier than ever.
"Ultimately you need your best players to be your best players in a tournament like this," Spott added. "Ryan is such a humble young man and to see him come out tonight and lead our team offensively along with Mark Scheifele and Jonathan Huberdeau.”
The 19-year-old from Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, put up a total of 52 points (18 goals, 34 assists) in the 62 games he played in his opening career season. He is one of the many rookies looking forward to raising the bar even further next season but were forced to continue playing in the minor leagues due to an extensive lockout which has thus far, resulted in the cancellation of over half of the 2012-2013 regular season.
Team Canada plays their next game on Friday against Slovakia at 4:30 ET.