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McDavid-Eichel matchup looms at WJC in Montreal

by Mike G. Morreale

The excitement surrounding the top two players available in the 2015 NHL Draft, Erie Otters center Connor McDavid and Boston University center Jack Eichel, will take on a whole new meaning in preliminary-round action of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship at Bell Centre in Montreal on Wednesday.


The 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship is being held at Bell Centre in Montreal and Air Canada Centre in Toronto until Jan. 5. For a complete broadcast schedule of all games on NHL Network-US, CLICK HERE.

That's when the two projected generational stars will meet head-on while representing their country; McDavid for Canada and Eichel for the United States.

Each has gotten off to an impressive start in the WJC.

McDavid, who went without a point in an 8-0 victory against Slovakia on Thursday, rebounded with a goal and two assists in a 4-0 victory against Germany on Saturday. He scored his first goal since returning from a broken right pinky sustained while playing for Erie on Nov. 11.

"It was just exciting," McDavid, who serves as an alternate captain for Canada, said. "I haven't scored in a long time, I missed a whole bunch of games, and scoring goals is fun."

McDavid has a goal, three points and eight shots on goal in two games for Canada (2-0-0-0), which leads the Group A pool with six points. Canada will next play against Finland (0-0-1-1, one point) on Monday before meeting the United States Wednesday (4 p.m. ET; NHLN-US).

Eichel, captain of the U.S. National Junior Team, had an assist and scored a shootout goal in a 2-1 victory against Finland on Thursday. His assist on a power-play goal by Alex Tuch (Minnesota Wild) at 13:54 of the first period pulled the U.S. into a 1-1 tie. After corralling a puck behind the Finland net, and with defenseman Julius Honka (Dallas Stars) bearing down on him, he passed behind his back, off the end boards to himself, then gathered the puck and sent it out front to Tuch for a one-timer.

In a 6-0 victory against Germany on Sunday, Eichel had a splendid wraparound goal late in the third. After taking a pass from Tyler Motte (Chicago Blackhawks) in the slot, Eichel whipped around the net, extended his stick and tucked the puck home just inside the left post.

He has one goal, two points, a plus-1 rating and 10 shots on goal in two tournament games.

The United States (1-1-0-0) is second in Group A with five points. It will next play Slovakia (1-0-0-1, three points) on Monday (4 p.m. ET; NHLN-US).

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