Watch the successors to Ovechkin and Crosby at Lausanne 2020

Ice hockey heavyweights Canada and Russia go head-to-head in men's Group B opener at Winter Youth Olympics

By Rory Jiwani ·

The two most successful nations in Olympic men's ice hockey history face off at Lausanne 2020 on Saturday (18 January).

Canada and Russia - in the forms of the Soviet Union, Unified Team and Olympic Athletes from Russia at previous Games - meet in the opening match in Group B.

With Denmark completing the three-team group, both of the hockey heavyweights will be expected to reach the semi-finals.

But the clash should give the two sides an indication of where they are ahead of their bid for medals inside the Vaudoise Arena with the action live on Olympic Channel from 14:00 CET. You can also follow it in our live blog.

events

9 - 22 Jan 2020

Lausanne 2020 | Youth Olympic Games

Switzerland

Savoie tipped for greatness

The tournament should offer a glimpse of the future with all the players born in 2004 or 2005.

Former NHL winger Gordie Dwyer coaches a Canada squad hoping to go one better than their silver from Lillehammer 2016.

Top Ontario prospect Adam Fantilli and Sasketchewan-based goaltender Dylan Ernst are among the players to watch out for.

Canada's reputation in junior hockey is second to none and they clinched their 18th World Junior Ice Hockey Championship title a fortnight ago in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Their victims in the final? Russia.

Canada boast just one 16-year-old in their squad in the form of Matt Savoie from St. Albert, Alberta.

He has already been involved in a tug-of-war over his future with Western Hockey League team Winnipeg ICE convincing him to back out of his commitment to play for the University of Denver in the 2021-22 season.

Savoie told The Hockey News, "It was a really tough decision. I just felt that the development route, their facilities, their coaching staff and the players that will be surrounding me are first class, so I’m really excited for that."

The forward notched up 31 goals and 71 points in 31 regular season games with Northern Alberta X-Treme Prep Academy and is already being compared to double Olympic gold medallist Sidney Crosby.

Savoie scored a goal and five assists for 'Canada White' in November's World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, helping the team to fourth place.

The overall victors? Russia.

Michkov set to follow Ovechkin's path

Dynamo Moscow defenseman Vladislav Sapunov comes to Lausanne fresh from Russia's World Under-17 Challenge success.

But the youngster attracting most attention is Matvei Michkov who only turned 15 last month.

Russia took bronze four years ago in Lillehammer with Andrei Svechnikov, future second overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, their standout performer.

And Michkov could have a similar impact this time, certainly if his game statistics are anything to go by.

Playing for Lokomotic Yaroslavl in Russia's Under-16 league, he managed to score 123 goals and 71 assists in just 51 games.

Michkov is being talked about as Russia's best prospect since Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin were picked one and two in the 2004 NHL Draft.

So make sure you tune in to see him and some other future stars live on Olympic Channel.