By Woodard, Dale on January 6, 2020.
Perhaps Lethbridge Hurricanes general manager Peter Anholt has a crystal ball he’s not telling anyone about.
Two members of the Hurricanes will return home World Junior Championship gold medallists after Dylan Cozens and Calen Addison and Team Canada posted a thrilling come-from-behind 4-3 win over Russia in the final Sunday in Ostrava of the Czech Republic.
And when Cozens scored in the second period on the power play to tie the game at 1-1, well, the Hurricanes GM called it.
“I sent (Hurricanes head coach) Brent Kisio a text when it was 0-0 and I said that Cozens was going to score and he did,” said Anholt. “When the Russians went up 3-1 it was funny because my initial reaction was that a two-goal lead is the worst lead in hockey. It’s funny how it turned out. I think everybody felt like they were kicked in the stomach a little bit. But you know what? To respond with the next two so quickly I think was the key.”
After the Russians went up 3-1 with 11:14 to go, Addison drew assists on the next three Canadian goals before Akil Thomas netted the winner with 3:58 to go.
The goal and three helpers from the Canes contingent helped Canada reclaim the gold after a heart-wrenching sixth-place finish last year.
“I guess the word ‘pride’ is one of the biggest things that comes to mind,” said Anholt. “We’re proud of the organization that they play for us. I know the scouting staff is proud they scouted them and drafted them and I know our coaches are proud they play on our team and they have developed them into great players and great young men. For them to play for Team Canada and contribute the way they did is a real credit to themselves individually, but from our standpoint we’re really proud of them and excited about how they represented our organization.”
Both Cozens and Addison finished the tournament with nine points, Cozens with two goals and Addison’s eight assists tops on the Canadian squad.
“For our guys to contribute the way they did, they were a key on so many goals throughout the whole tournament, so I know that’s fun for everybody watching,” said Anholt.
Addison was slotted as one of Canada’s power play quarterbacks heading into the tournament.
Anholt noted that wasn’t the only area the Pittsburgh Penguins prospect shone.
“We knew Addy was going to be a key guy on their power play if he was going to play on that team, but what I was really pleased about is how he defended even on five-on-five. They put him with (Kevin) Bahl so that was a pretty good pair and an interesting pair. They really didn’t have a shut down pair, necessarily, it didn’t seem like to me.”
As for Cozens working down low on the man advantage, Anholt has been watching his forward do that since Cozens joined the Hurricanes playoff run in 2017 as a wide-eyed rookie who had just turned 16.
“For us, since he scored that goal in Game 7 against Medicine Hat he’s always been a guy that doesn’t surprise us when he comes up big in key moments,” said Anholt.
Upon arriving back on Canadian soil, Anholt said the duo will be given some time to unwind.
“We have them scheduled to come back on the 14th, so they are going to miss a couple more games.”
They’re going to get a week off back home, so that will give them time to recharge and come down off of cloud nine.”
Not to get lost in the World Junior excitement, the Hurricanes were also without leading goal scorer Oliver Okuliar, who played for Slovakia at the tournament.
Anholt credited the rest of his team for filling the void in the three players’ absence.
“It’s been really good because our team has played so well with them away and that’s really bonded this group, too, and solidified that we’re not a three-person team. So I think that’s really important also.”
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