Montreal Canadiens prospect Owen Beck is off to a great start for Team Canada at the World Junior Championship.
The 19-year-old centre was the star of the show as Canada defeated Switzerland 6-2 in their preliminary game on Friday morning. Beck scored twice, including a fantastic shorthanded breakaway goal that will feature on most highlight reels.
Beck also scored Team Canada’s game-winning goal early in the second period when he capitalized on a loose puck in a high-danger scoring area. It wasn’t as nice as his shorthanded goal, but any time your fourth-line centre starts scoring goals you can be sure there’s a fair amount of talent involved in the lineup.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) December 22, 2023
Beck’s shorthanded goal was assisted by fellow OHL player Oliver Bonk, but you’d be hard-pressed to argue it was a perfect pass. It was more of a hail-mary, forcing Beck to reach behind him to corral the puck while maintaining the type of speed that would give him plenty of time to pick his spot on the breakaway. The Canadiens prospect made the right decision, preferring to shoot glove side after a couple of dekes.
Beck with a beauty! 🚨
— Hockey Canada (@HockeyCanada) December 22, 2023
Montreal Canadiens fans may be shocked to notice he’s playing on the fourth line, alongside Owen Allard (undrafted) and Nate Danielson (Detroit Red Wings), but that was to be expected given Beck’s stalwart defensive play.
As evidenced in the game versus Switzerland, Beck can provide his team with scoring, but he’s also one of the best shutdown centres outside of the NHL, which is why he’s being used in a defensive role.
He’s also dominant when it comes to taking faceoffs, another feather in his cap that should lead to important shifts throughout the 2024 World Junior Championship.
This means that he’s expected to receive much more ice time than your typical fourth-line centre thanks to his versatility and cerebral approach to hockey.
When the game is on the line, Beck is likely to be the centre called upon by head coach Alan Letang.