As the Washington Capitals work through injuries and COVID-19 to remain atop the Metro, two of their top prospects in center Hendrix Lapierre and defenseman Vincent Iorio were in Calgary, battling for a spot on Team Canada’s roster for the 2022 World Junior Championships.
After practice and training to start selection camp, Team Canada’s top prospects got the chance to show what they can do in a game with back-to-back showdowns with the U Sports All-Stars this weekend.
And, despite not getting on the scoresheet, Lapierre and Iorio did put themselves on while aiming for the 25-man roster, but they came up short of a spot.
Lapierre has been having a spectacular 2021-22 campaign. After a six-game stint up with the Capitals and his first career goal in his debut, the youngster returned to the QMJHL to continue fine-tuning and growing his game. Skating with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, the 19-year-old has been solid with two goals and 12 assists through just nine games so far.
He carried over that leadership to Canada’s selection camp. In both exhibition games, he played top-6 minutes and utilized his speed, quick thinking and strong playmaking to generate a number of scoring chances. Also, Lapierre logged time on both the power play and penalty kill, showcasing his strong passing and awareness at both ends of the rink to not only create pressure on the forecheck but backcheck effectively as well.
READ MORE ON WHN: Checking In On The Top Capitals Prospects So Far
Not only that, but Lapierre stayed confident and aggressive on the forecheck. He battled hard for the puck, maintained control and showcased his smooth skating. He didn’t back down and stayed aggressive on the forecheck, and didn’t shy away from physicality. The Quebec native also won quite a few draws to boot.
Meanwhile, Iorio has been sound on the backend with the Brandon Wheat Kings so far. Wearing the “A,” he has been on the top pairing and has 14 points through 21 games and is a plus-4.
In both exhibition games for Canada, Iorio was strong and showcased great defensive awareness on the second pairing. The 6-3, 203-pound blueliner used his size and speed to his advantage and had good gap control. He was hard on pucks, battled hard and got engaged physically. He also took good care of the puck and did well moving it up ice. Iorio got time on the PK and got to work in tandem with Lapierre.