Montreal Canadiens: Lane Hutson, Jacob Fowler Show Well In Final World Junior Tune-Up Game

Boston University v Massachusetts-Lowell
Boston University v Massachusetts-Lowell / Richard T Gagnon/GettyImages

While it’s only pre-tournament action, both the Canadian and American rosters didn’t care; as they competed for bragging rights. 

Lane Hutson and Jacob Fowler matched against fellow Montreal Canadiens prospect Owen Beck for Team Canada. The Saturday afternoon tilt featured Hutson’s BU Terrier teammate, 17-year-old Macklin Celebrini. Hutson, however, drew first blood for the Americans, springing Quinn Finley on a breakaway. 

TSN’s colour commentator Mike Johnson sang Hutson’s praises. We all remember what Andrei Markov did for the Habs, and Johnson made a bold statement. He predicted that Hutson would give the Canadiens what they have lacked since Markov - a true powerplay quarterback. 

Both squads are extremely talented, featuring the likes of Matt Poitras, Celebrini, Owen Beck, Denton Mateychuk and Oliver Bonk. On the American side, the U.S. have the likes of Hutson, Fowler, Cutter Gauthier, Jimmy Snuggerud, Rutger McGroarty and Will Smith. But perhaps the best among them all, is Hutson.

The goaltending battle between Mathis Rousseau and Fowler was impressive to start the game. At the end of the first 20 minutes, the netminders kept the game at 1-1. Which is quite the feat considering that both teams are oozing skill. The play of the period has to be Hutson’s two-line pass from his zone to Finley. 

It’s hard to argue with Johnson, who isn’t a scout in his own right, but has the NHL resume to back his opinion. Hutson has continued to make opponent’s look silly in the NCAA, the World Hockey Championships and the World Junior’s. It’s quite apparent at this point, that Canada-USA will likely meet each other once more before the tournament ends. Which could likely be for a medal. 

Much like Hutson on the blueline, with Fowler’s poise and calm game, he often makes difficult plays - saves in his case, looks routine. Positionally he is self-aware, and if he is out of position, his athleticism serves him well.  With his strong glove hand and quick feet, he has all the tools to run with the number-one goalie role for the Americans. 

Celebrini said it best, Hutson is a special player and that pass he made isn’t unfamiliar to the 17-year-old Vancouver, BC product. Hutson has been tearing it up alongside Celebrini for Boston University. Likewise, Fowler has been a revelation for Boston College, taking the rankings by storm. 

Second & Third Frame

Fortunately for Hutson, his squad had 56 seconds of power play time to start the second frame. This of course plays right into his hands; considering how dynamic his puck skills and shifty skating combo are. Pair that with his vision and passing ability, and he is a threat to score each time he touches the puck. 

With all that said, the game remained knotted at one’s. Both teams stuck to a tight-checking game, trying to suffocate each other in the neutral zone. It was obvious that a mistake or greasy goal would break the deadlock. 

And for Canada, they capitalized on a rare mistake by Fowler. Connor Geekie was the beneficiary of a coughed-up puck, and he slid the puck around Fowler before putting it home. Canada took a bit of the momentum, but the States stood their ground. The matchup just had a different feel about it, certainly didn’t feel like a pre-tournament game.

Sam Rinzel tied the game, with a nice little little snapshot short side on Rousseau. Both teams appear an even match for one another. This will be interesting to follow, as Sweden, Finland, Czechia and Slovakia, assumably will be competitive. 

Beck took a penalty for charging, around the 11-minute mark of the second. Hutson predictably ran things from the top of the zone. Leonard put the Americans up 3-2 with a nice backhand finish, assisted by Isaac Howard. 

The tally, while it came after the man advantage expired, put some air in the team’s sails. Canada was pushed back on their heels, needing a spark of momentum. The goalies switched at the mid-way mark of the period, and Celebrini showed his one-on-one skill, although it didn’t translate. 

The U.S. rotated through two line changes and still held the Canadians hemmed in their zone. Oliver Moore came on the ice fresh, and blew past Geekie, firing a smart placed shot past Samuel St-Hillaire. Assist went to Gauthier.

Frank Nazar took a high sticking penalty on Celebrini, putting the Canadians on the man advantage. With a two-goal deficit to dig themselves out of, Canada could gain some ground with a powerplay goal. Matthew Savoie showed off some quick hands, tucking a feed from Matthew Wood around Trey Augustine to make it 4-3. 

With 1:30 to go, although the Americans had a one-goal lead, it felt as though Canada wasn’t going to go away. Gabe Perreault found himself wide open in front of the net, and Leonard his BC Eagle teammate finished off a great passing play - 5-3 USA. The chemistry came through on that play. 

Before the period could finish, Gauthier took an interference penalty with 17 seconds left in the middle frame. The Americans head into the second intermission with a two-goal lead. The powerhouse squads haven’t disappointed. 

Celebrini scored a goal, which was called back for high sticking, but he seemed to know it. He then set up Jordan Dumais in front of the American net, to bring the Canadians within one goal. With 15:20 to go the game is tight, despite the 5-4 score.

Owen Allard finished off a great shift, with his line with Beck and Nate Danielson. The trio kept the States playing in their zone before Allard tucked home a greasy tap-in goal to tie the game at five. Beck and Maveric Lamoureux drew the assists. Allard was a menace on the puck, and after three taps at the puck, his persistence paid off.

Lamoureux hammered Gauthier with an open-ice hit, and leading up to the 9:51 mark of the period, things started to get chippy. Behind the net Bonk exchanges some shoves with a couple of American players. Danny Nelson hit Bonk from behind, and he fell over St-Hillaire. The teams will play 5-on-5. with both players in the sin bin.

The final eight minutes of the game are sure to be physical, with tensions running high. Both teams battled back-and-forth, with no team giving the other an inch of space. With two minutes to go, the game is still 5-5.


Hutson started the overtime with Gauthier and Snuggerud. Canada went with Geekie, Mateychuk and Fraser Minten. Hutson almost found Gauthier wide open in front of the Canadian net. The pass effort was intercepted, however.

Hutson worked his way into the zone, and using some feints and shifty jukes, showing pass before sniping the game winner past St-Hillaire. Beck was victimized, after trying to be too pretty. Hutson made a smart play, and absolutely took over with his skill.

Hutson finished with a goal and an assist, but Leonard earned Player of the Game honours for the Americans. Jorian Donovan was Canada's best player, as voted by the IIHF. The game looked like an instant classic. Also, Lane Hutson is really good.